The documentary “Afghan Star,” which recounts an “American Idol” style singing contest in Afghanistan, is this weekend’s highlight at the 10th !f İstanbul AFM International Independent Film Festival.
Havana Marking, the British director of the film, which won both the directing and the audience awards in 2009’s Sundance World Documentary competition, will be in attendance at both festival screenings of “Afghan Star” this weekend: Saturday at 9:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. at the Maçka Cinebonus G-Mall theater.
“Afghan Star” is one of nine titles featured at the festival’s Film Forward program, introduced to !f İstanbul this year in cooperation with Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. The program -- which also presented such titles as “Amreeka,” the critically acclaimed debut directorial effort of Cherien Dabis; and Lixin Fan’s Amsterdam Film Festival best documentary prize winner “Last Train Home” -- aims to develop worldwide intercultural dialogue through cinema.
As part of the fest’s Sundance focus, Sundance advisors and scriptwriters Bill Wheeler and Wesley Strick, along with Israeli author, scriptwriter, director and Sundance advisor Etgar Keret, will lead a panel discussion on scriptwriting on Saturday. The event, which will begin at 11 a.m. at the festival center, will be followed by Alesia Weston and Michelle Satter’s special presentation on the Sundance Institute’s programs, with a special focus on the Screenwriting and Directors Labs and Feature Film Program. “Amreeka” director Dabis will also recount her first-hand experience as a filmmaker in the Sundance Lab in a session beginning at 3 p.m. For more information, check out: http://2011.ifistanbul.com/en/Program/Calendar.