Producing A Documentary on Afghanistan’s First Female Orchestra

By Dean’s Intern Joseph Kelly at Voice of America

Joe KellyWell the time had finally come…After around a dozen proposals, we have finally been approved for a new documentary at VOA.  And boy is it an interesting one.  Currently, I am assisting Beth in the early stages of producing a documentary about the Zohra Orchestra, Afghanistan’s first female orchestra.  We are going to tell their story, as well as the story of Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, the founder of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music.. He was injured several years ago in a Taliban attack at one of his concerts. Now with the Taliban back in power, many members of the orchestra are still trapped in the country under a regime that forbids music.  We are going to tell the story of the orchestra and what the tragic fall of Afghanistan means for its members, both those who have escaped and those who haven’t. To be involved in a film like this is truly amazing.  I was the first to contact Dr. Sarmast.  Being able to communicate with such an inspiring man is simply awesome. I am extremely excited to start the production process for the documentary.  I am in the process of getting my government clearance now, so I will have access to archival footage and documents that should be fascinating. I can’t wait to get to the meat of the project.