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"Sisters" in Cent Magazine!

Jo Phillips wrote a fantastic article featuring our Documentary "Sisters".

SISTERS Dan Blackwell

In a country where it is scorned upon for women and girls to play music, a group of young women risk their lives every day to pursue their passion, both for music and gender equality in Afghanistan. They play in an Orchestra.

“Sisters” follows UK musician, Dan Blackwell to Kabul to meet Afghanistan’s first-ever female orchestra, ‘Zohra’. Zohra is Afghanistan’s first all-female orchestra. Every member of this orchestra has faced terrible adversity to play music. Dan learned about Zohra online and got in contact with them first via Facebook and then followed with an email.

“Sisters” is a real-life story with many emotional highs and lows as it tackles serious, dark themes. However, this documentary fills the viewer with hope for a stronger connection to people who usually only feature in distant news stories. “Sisters” looks into the lives of the Zohra members and their two young leaders.


Negin is the Conductor of Zohra. At 20 years old she is the oldest member and the leader of the Zohra Ensemble. She sticks with and leads Zohra as the country’s first female conductor despite multiple death threats and family disputes. Zarifa is nowhere to be seen until Dan tracks her down. Discovering her precarious situation, Dan stays with her as she prepares to flee Afghanistan leaving close friends and family behind.


Along with Negin, Zarifa was the outspoken second leader of Zohra until she fled the country during the production of this film.

Although at the moment music is not forbidden in Afghanistan, under the Taliban regime it was banned completely and will probably be banned once they return.

There is, however, still much violence against women and such cases are seldom prosecuted due to pressure from family members, and there are very few services available to people seeking to escape violence.

There is also very little female representation in the Afghan government (with only female 5 members) which risk critical issues for women being unaddressed in the peace talks and their rights are unlikely to improve.

Under the Taliban regime, women in Afghanistan were not only excluded from the public sphere but subjected to a suppressive regime against women’s rights. Having created an environment of pervasive fear, the Taliban imposed compulsory and heavy veiling for women, opposed education and employment for girls and women, and restricted their mobility as women were only allowed to go outside of the houses when accompanied by male relatives or risk severe punishment.

Although there are several organisations trying to improve women’s rights in Afghanistan many challenges for women still exist.

Sisters, the documentary is available to watch an online at the Northampton film festival Q&Awith the film’s Producer Tony Klinger Director Dan Blackwell at 6 pm on Friday 14 May – here Also to be shown at the Atlanta film Festival June 18th, 19th, 20th

# sistersinmusic #musicisfreedom

Click the link for the full article,


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