Top Right to left: Neha (actress), Amir Shah Talash (actor), Dali the monkey, Marshook (action hero of movies), Helen Rose (Australian actor and singer).
Bottom centre – Ashid the 19 year old midget. Photo by Waqar Alam.
YELLOW HOUSE MULTI MEDIA AND CULTURAL COMPLEX IN JALALABAD.
This is our Tora Bora Cinema Circus . We are taking it on the road and will eventually try to raise the canvas at Tora Bora which is still a Taliban strong hold. I am making the interior of the tent magical with posters from the films , billboards and fabric with mirrors woven into tapestries . I want children to enter it to see their first theatre and film and feel they have entered a magic kingdom. This is art doing what all the helicopters and military attacks have failed to do . Love and art works better than bombs and guns.
Helen did the first theatre workshop for talented young kids , yesterday, on our newly built stage . The stage is in the garden and surrounded by trees and roses …. it was beautiful watching the big movie star actors passing on their skills to a new generation of young artist-actors. Our lead character in the new drama is Medina who is 8 years old – she was recently featured in a Roshan Telephone add and is on big billboards around Kabul. Medina will be the first Pashtun female to act in dramas. Neha is directing this new drama which featured Medina. Neha will be the first Pashtun Language female director so it is great to see these two pioneers working together. The new drama has, mainly, a child cast and this is intended to help develop a youth theatre group in Jalalabad. It would be wonderful to get funding for regular theatre and art classes for talented young people who want to enter careers in the arts.
Last year I helped to bring the theatre and Film community together and we made 3 dramas which were of high quality with positive subjects . This was a huge step away from the violent and soft porn movies that had been made in Jalalabad in the past , which copied the Pakistani model of exploitation movies . Out movies had female actresses playing the lead roles – a total first for Pashtun language films . This next phase is using a Cinema Circus tent to travel to out of the way communities and show the Love City and other films made by our Buraq Films group. The tent screenings will encourage local stores to sell the dvds made by Buraq . The Yellow House Multi Media complex which we have developed in Jalalabad is the second aspect of this phase of the project. The Yellow House has:
1.) SECRET GARDEN CAFE :A cafe (for both sexes ) where creative people and the local intellectuals can meet and discuss ideas in a secure and private atmosphere.
2.)BRUAQ FILMS CINEMA :A permanent cinema theatre – hall for regular screenings of both foreign films and local productions
3.) YELLOW HOUSE STUDIOS:Studio space for artists and art classes
4.) ROSE THEATRE:An outdoor ,wooden ,stage for theatre productions , classes and rehearsals – this can also be used for film sets in dramas.The stage is also perfect for music concerts.
5 A.) TRADITIONAL MALE ACCOMMODATION :A Hoojrah for group male accommodation .
5 B.)FEMALE ACCOMMODATION Woman quarters which are separate from the male area.
6.) FILM EDIT SUITE: A fully developed and very high end Film-video digital editing suite with two imac computers and many hard drives fitted for Final Cut Pro
7.) PROFESSIONAL FILM PRODUCTION Six HD professional video cameras with radio and shot gun microphones
8.) GUEST ACCOMMODATION :Western style accommodation for International guests.
9.) KITCHEN: A clean and modern kitchen with a permanent cook.
10.) MUSIC RECORDING STUDIO: A music recording studio . At this stage there is basic digital recording equipment. The longterm aim is to bring this studio up to international standards with state of the art Pro Tools equipment.
11.) Secure parking
12.) BURAQ FILM OFFICES :Buraq Films is registered as a Company with the Afghan Government and has its offices within the Yellow House.
The theatre is called Rose Theatre , The cafe is called Secret Garden Cafe , The overall complex is called The Yellow House , the film company is called Buraq Films , The mobile theatre is called Tora Bora Cinema Circus .
Here is one of many shots of Yellow House Jalalabad.This is some of the core group working with Hellen conducting a a Children’s Theatre Workshop on the Rose Theatre Stage!
Here is a shot from our edit room.The Yellow House artists like the V for Vendetta symbol for what they are doing . This is Nooraha and Neha fooling around with one of the masks .We are working towards a Cabaret which will use the masks a lot in the chorus line.
This is one of the Youth Theatre Workshops being conducted at the Yellow house ,Jalalabad,on our outdoor stage. Helen Rose and Neha are the two main teachers but our action movie stars are also involved , including Nooraha , Marshook , Ashid and Amir Shah. It was such a happy day to see our new outdoor stage in use and actors both young and old having so much fun . This is something that has not happened before in Jalalabad and the enthusiasm for it is very encouraging.
Photo by Ijaz
Here I am with Neha in the process of painting the bar for the Secret Garden Cafe. This will be the first bar or restaurant or cafe in Jalalabad where men and women can both enjoy time together at the same tables. Normally restaurants are only for men .There are non where the sexed can mingle. This shape evolved in Norway as a ‘flying pussy’ but I am telling people here that it is based on a tulip and originates from the great mosque designs of Sinan in Istanbul . It should make for a very funny moment in the doc.
Here is our edit suite in the basement of the YH . I am sitting with Neha and Nooraha who are both 19 year old directors and this is where they are constructing the footage from their dramas. The walls are covered in posters from movies by our group , Buraq Films and V for Vendetta masks which are seen be all here as a symbol of rebellion against the war and the corruption of the occupation.