There’s no denying that young girls living in war-torn Afghanistan are growing up in a difficult and scary environment. In addition to the consequences of being in a conflict zone, some of them are facing poverty. Due to cultural and religious norms, safety concerns, and several other reasons, girls have very limited opportunities to participate in sports. However, there’s a generation of young women growing up who are willing to change that, and they are doing so by learning to skateboard. Recently, the whole world learned about them when a documentary portraying the skateboarding Afghan girls won an Oscar.
More info: skateistan.org
Recently, the film Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) won the Best Document Short Subject award
The documentary, titled Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl), was directed by Carol Dysinger and produced by Elena Andreicheva. Last Saturday, these two women stepped onto the 92nd Academy Awards stage to claim a well-deserved award for the Best Documentary Short Subject.
“This movie is my love letter to the brave girls of that country. They teach girls courage, to raise your hand, to say I am here, I have something to say and I’m going to take that ramp, don’t try to stop me,” Dysinger said in her acceptance speech.
The movie features Skateistan, a school, which was first known as a small community of kids being taught to skateboard by Oliver Percovich, in 2017, and later turned into a non-profit organization that offers both education and skateboarding practice to children in need.
While the organization was founded in the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, it now runs in Cambodia and South Africa, too, offering valuable education to its 1600 students.
The organization has been making a positive impact on girls since 2009. If not for Skateistan, these girls would be, as Dysinger explained to Deadline: “very much in the house around the women helping out, hanging onto skirts, trying not to be bored and taking care of the boys or the babies, whichever there are more of or who needs it.” Instead, they have a brilliant opportunity to learn and skate.
Watch Carol Dysinger’s and Elena Andreicheva’s press room speech below
Dysinger, who has been working in Afghanistan for years, knew very well how to gain the trust of the enclosed Afghan society. So the director brought an all-female crew and captured what happens behind the closed doors of Skateistan. What they caught on tape was an amazing story of young girls growing up in a conservative, war-ridden setting where they are taught to believe that they can do anything.
Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You’re A Girl) Trailer
“It’s a movie I’ve wanted to make—not the skateboarding part, but the girls part; the skateboarding was extra, but effective, it seems. And it was just such a pleasure to be able to get my favorite part of Afghanistan, which is the girls. I just love these kids. I just love them so much and it was just so nice to be able to bring them into the world where they’re rarely seen as the people they actually are,” the director of the movie said.