Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more.
Hosted by Larry Mantle
Airs Weekdays 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Afghanistan’s national sport - no rules, no ball, one headless goat

A scene from Buzkashi Boys, set in Kabul, Afghanistan.
A scene from Buzkashi Boys, set in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Photo by David Gill

Listen to story

Download this story 8MB

Buzkashi Boys is a forthcoming, American-funded film about Afghanistan’s national sport: spelt Buzkashi. This largely lawless game is kind of a cross between polo and rugby. But instead of using a ball, the Afghan horsemen play with a headless goat. Up to fifty riders compete for cash as they try to steal the carcass from other players, before tossing it into a chalk-drawn circle. The film was directed by Sam French and written Martin Roe, two best friends who both graduated from USC film school. Their Afghan-Canadian producer is Ariel Nasr. The three hope their movie will inspire the regeneration of Afghanistan’s film industry, which has been largely destroyed by decades of war and Taliban repression. It was produced through a partnership of two NGOs – Afghan Film Project (U.S.) and Afghan Film Making Education Organization (Afghanistan), founded in 2010. Buzkashi Boys is set in the old city slums of Kabul and focuses on two young boys – a blacksmith’s son and a street urchin. The two dream of a better life, by becoming legendary Buzkashi riders. French and Roe join us to talk about filming in war-torn Afghanistan and how they’re working towards creating the next generation of filmmakers there.


Sam French, Director of Buzkashi Boys and Founding Director of Development Pictures in Kabul, Afghanistan

Martin Roe, Co-Writer of Buzkashi Boys and Co-Founder of Dirty Robber, a production company based in Silverlake, California