‘Skateistan’ is a short documentary piece exhibiting the work of the eponymous international organisation Skateistan in Afghanistan, as they support youths and teach them to skateboard.
It gives us a glance into the lives of Murza and Fazilla, two children from Kabul who are both involved with Skateistan, and shows how youths are affected by living and growing in the rubble of a city brought to its knees by conflict. Director and producer Orlando Von Einsiedel captures the life and culture of Kabul brilliantly, shining light on a previously-unseen side of Afghanistan, and the unlikely hope these children have for the future.
Murza says that he is addicted to skating and that if he does not do it, he becomes “ill”. Fazilla has the support of most of her family – except for her father and people on the streets “questioning [her] right to skate” – but to the 12-year-old, the opinions of others are “meaningless”. These children are literally raised in the ashes; destroyed artillery cannons and tanks litter the landscape, but it is clear from their faces as they glide across the dusty streets that their surroundings cannot dampen their hope.
It is warming to see positivity and hope being projected into the heart of Afghanistan. ‘Skateistan’ provides an insight into a part of the country I guarantee you did not know existed – it is a beautiful eight minutes.
Words by Lien Lavell