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A documentary film that follows the life and work of some of the most talented young artists in Afghanistan! Read more

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This project was successfully funded on May 9, 2013.

A documentary film that follows the life and work of some of the most talented young artists in Afghanistan!

About this project

We want to present you Creative Despite War, a documentary film about four of the most innovative young artists in Afghanistan. After two years of visiting repeatedly Afghanistan to follow the development of our characters, we are just one visit away to conclude our story and start the post-production of our film. With your support we will make this happen!


Despite thirty years of conflict, and eleven years of military occupation, despite violence, poverty, fundamentalism and war, there is a blossoming artistic movement in Afghanistan that affirms the resilience of the human spirit. Creative Despite War foregrounds four of the most innovative young Afghan artists in their struggle to create and show their artwork, in a country where personal expression can often be life threatening.The work of these artists is slowly taking over the cities: from paintings on Kabul’s semi destroyed walls to heavy metal underground concerts. The film takes us on a journey into Afghanistan’s emerging contemporary artistic movement and into the intimate world of these artists, showing their role in shaping a revitalised Afghan society, and affirming that the power of creative expression. 

Avoiding the images that we are used to seeing in mass media, our intention is to create a natural and beautiful portrait of the city and its characters. This portrait will contrast the usual sensationalist and brutal images that we normally see of Afghanistan.

In our documentary, we follow the life and creative process of four young artists. From the urban graffiti treatments of Shamsia Hassani to the rhythms of District Unknown, we become acquainted with the inspiring imaginations of the culture creators of Kabul. Now, we plan to witness the culmination of many years of hard work as they prepare to share their vision at the Sound Central Asia’s Modern Music Festival (Kabul’s first alternative Youth Arts and Music Festival) this May.


SHAMSIA - the first female street Artist in Afghanistan

Shamsia is the first female street artist in Afghanistan. Starting out as a painter, she takes part in a graffiti workshop in Kabul and decides to change her approach and create her work on street walls rather than canvases. In her graffiti, Shamsia depicts the struggle of women in Afghanistan, and at the same time their strength, power and beauty. After many years of work, Shamsia is today one of the most recognized artists in the international graffiti scene.

DISTRICT UNKNOWN the first heavy metal band in Afghanistan

District Unknown is the first heavy metal band in Afghanistan. They began making music by playing covers of old metal bands. Now after three years performing together, they have found their own style and have started to write and compose their own songs. Despite being judged and misunderstood by their own families and the conservative society that surrounds them, they have slowly established themselves in the underground music scene of Kabul. They are now preparing to record the first heavy metal album in the history of Afghanistan. 

PPT THEATRE The first puppet theatre ensemble in Afghanistan

PPT is the first and only independent Puppet theatre company in the country. They believe that the future of Afghanistan is in the hands of the new generation; therefore they have developed a unique and creative approach of performing for children and teenagers in public and private schools.

THE ANZURGAR FAMILY – A family of painters living and working together in Kabul

Ashraf and Folad Anzurgar are father and son, both recognized for their beautiful paintings. Their artwork depicts the daily life of Kabul. Painting has remained a part of Ashraf’s life through all of the conflicts that Afghanistan has faced in the past three decades. He has enjoyed teaching arts within the Faculty of Art at Kabul University. His oldest son, Folad, has been his most dedicated student. Their home functions as their studio space and gallery.  


This film honors remarkable Afghan artists and by doing so, it dignifies an entire community that has been marked by a single story of catastrophe. By sharing the many stories of the artists we encounter in this film, we are able to identify and focus on our shared humanity.

Through Creative Despite War, we want to give a voice to the exciting new artistic movement in Afghanistan. With us, you will discover a side of the country that the world has never seen before.



After two years of hard work, 70% of the film has been recorded. To finalize the last sequence of the film, we will return to Kabul on 15th of April. Once there, we will document the weeks leading up to the festival and the festival itself, which will take place during May 2013. The whole production until now has been financed by ourselves and with the kind support of family and friends. 

NOW, we need your support more than ever to see our vision through its final phase. Beyond filming, we need to also implement the post-production (consisting of editing, color correction and final sound mixing).

Additional funding beyond the 30,000 USD will enable us to pay for marketing, distribution, and other strategic mechanisms that will allow the film to reach a much broader audience.

                                               SUPPORT US! 


RUÍ DÍAZ / Director

Rui Diaz is an independent documentary filmmaker born in Arica, Chile who began working as a director and camera operator in 2007 on various NGO projects in Germany, Chile, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In 2009, he traveled to Ukraine, Russia, Mongolia, China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey producing various audiovisual projects implementing a cultural development initiative with a Chilean Television Network. In 2010, he wrote and directed "Mirage," a documentary film on the Atacama desert of Chile. Diaz holds a BA in Communication Studies from the University of Santiago, Film Direction from the Center of Cinematography Studies of the University of Catalunya and an MA in Film Documentary Creation from the University of Barcelona. Creative Despite War is his latest endeavor.

CHRISTIAN RINKE / Director of Photography

Born in Berlin Germany and raised in the ancient Inca city of Cusco, Peru, Christian is an independent photojournalist and film documentary maker based in Berlin. His love for documentary and his unique sense of adventure propels him to experience a natural transition into reporting and documentary filmmaking and visual story-telling. His project “The Power of Football” is a documentary project about education and social rehabilitation through football in African townships such as Alexandra/Johannesburg, Kibera/Nairobi and in the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He has also featured in-depth reports about the negative influence of illegal gold mining on indigenous cultures in the Peruvian-Brazilian border region. He earned a Professional Photography degree from the Hamburg Photographer's Guild -747 studios in Hamburg in 2007. Besides documentary filmmaking, he also works as a fashion photographer and photojournalist with a portfolio of assignments taking him around the world. (


Juan Camilo Cruz was born in Bogotá Colombia. He started working on TV as art director and then as producer for series and telenovelas for RCN Television in Bogotá. He moved to Berlin in 2008 to study film on the HFF in Potsdam. During his time there he worked in different short films, short documentaries, music videos and German TV series. In 2011, he started working at Monoduo Films, a documentary sales agency with focus on music and art documentaries. With the agency he has successfully taken part in the distribution and sales of documentaries like "Last Days Here" winner of the IDFA Play Award in 2012, "We don’t care about Music anyway", "Backyard" or "Leave Them Laughing". He has also recently taken part in the production of the TV documentary series “Dining with the Enemy” for TV2 Norway in Colombia. Besides the distribution and sales of new content in 2013, he is finalizing the production of the film Creative Despite War in Afghanistan


Born in Athens Aletta was raised in Greece, Switzerland and Hamburg. After finishing school she moved to Berlin to study Music and Education. Giving in to her dream of becoming involved in film, she finally started to work at several Post-Production companies and eventually became educated in audio-visual media design with focus on editing. Since 2008 she is a freelancing editor based in Berlin, working on various projects in Germany, UK and France including a documentary that was featured in the Panorama section of the 62nd Berlinale in 2012. Her latest short film was also part of the short film competition of the 2013 Max Ophüls Film Festival. She also works as a lecturer for editing and will be holding a film workshop in Lagos, Nigeria in cooperation with the Goethe Institute in 2013.

Production Company: Monoduo Films (

If you want to learn more about us visit our website:  

Note: We support other independent artists and filmmakers through Kicking It Forward...

We believe so strongly in supporting independent artists and filmmakers that we have made a commitment to give back 5% of the profits from this project directly to other independent film projects who also have Kickstarter campaigns. We have done this via This is our way of recognizing the importance of contributions made by independent filmmakers to the arts.


Risks and challenges

Although shooting a film in Afghanistan has been for us an absolute pleasure, there are some security issues that we have to manage when we are filming on site. However, this has never been our focus. As we move forward with the various stages of completing this work, we will keep all of our donors informed and aware of any security risks that might alter the timeline that we are setting forth to deliver this project.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter



  • You selected
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    31 backers

    •A special thanks with your name on our website and the film credits.

    •A postcard designed by Shamsia Hassani signed by the artists.

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    37 backers

    •All of the above, plus early access to the film in HD.

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    35 backers

    • A special thanks with your name on our website and the film credits
    • A Facebook shout
    • Early access to the film in HD!
    • A digital postcard from Afghanistan signed by the artists

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    68 backers

    •All of the above, plus a hard copy DVD of the film signed specially for you by the filmmakers, and the featured artists and a limited edition T-shirt of Creative Despite War designed by Shamsia Hassani.

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    31 backers

    •All of the above, plus a limited edition photograph taken in Afghanistan by Christian Rinke.

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    12 backers

    •All of the above, plus a limited edition bag of Creative Despite War designed by Shamsia Hassani.

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    0 backers

    •All of the above, plus a special one on one Skype conversation with the artist of your choice where they will get the chance to thank you personally.

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    •All of the above, plus a limited edition CREATIVE DESPITE WAR coffee table book featuring images and text about the production of the film.

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    •All of the above, plus an invitation for the premiere screening and party in Kabul or Berlin (does not include travel expenses) and a painting from the Anzurgar family.

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    2 backers

    •All of the above, plus a Wooden Marionette version of you created by PPT and Associate Producer Credit.

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    1 backer

    •All of the above, plus one round-trip ticket to Kabul or Berlin to join us and the artists at the premiere of the film and Executive Producer credit.
    •Our eternal Love and Gratitude.
    •Now…you are officially part of our family!

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Funding period

- (30 days)