Simorgh Film Association of Culture and Art (SFACA) 3
For traditional Islamic festivals see Nancy Hatch Dupree, 'Festivals in Afghanistan', Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition, http://iranicaonline.org/articles/festivals-x, accessed October 2010.
Fine arts
Since 2004 RTA has held an annual Radio-Television Afghanistan (RTA) Fine Arts Festival featuring music, theatre, film and visual art (including calligraphy, miniatures, and photography) in Kabul. In 2010 the festival took place in the Queen's Palace, Bagh-e-Babur and included Afghan artists based abroad, invited by the Ministry of Information and Culture. Altogether 40 artists won prizes for their art. The event was sponsored by the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society (FCCS) and broadcast by RTA.
Traditionally, celebrations of the Persian New Year (21st March) have been a platform for music recitals and dance in the context of family picnics. A more formalised occasion was introduced to the traditional celebrations of this event in Mazar-e-Sharif in 2004, when the first Gul-e-Surkh (Red Tulip) International Music Festival was held. This event provides a platform for traditional musicians from across Afghanistan and the region.
The International Music Festival of Kabul was launched in 2008. The second festival of 2009, featuring renowned musicians from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, was held at the German Embassy, the French Cultural Centre Kabul and the Turquoise Mountain Foundation
The first festival in Afghanistan inspired by western culture may have been the First International Rock Festival, held in Kabul in 1975. Sponsored by the Intercontinental Hotel and a cigarette company, and advertised in the Kabul Times and on radio, the event attracted an audience of about 500, mainly students from the University of Kabul and high schools.
The Dramatic Arts Centre of Afghanistan in the Department of Theatre of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Kabul was established in 2004 with the aim of stimulating and supporting the development of theatre in Afghanistan. An annual Afghan Theatre Festival was held in Kabul between 2004 and 2009, offering a platform for theatre companies from Kabul and the provinces to present their plays and receive professional training through a series of theatre workshops led by international theatre practitioners. However, the festival did not take place in 2010 and at the time of writing its future is uncertain.
The Kabul International Documentary and Short Film Festival was launched in 2005 with the aim of identifying and supporting new talent in Afghan documentary cinema, while encouraging regional co-operation. After a break in 2006, the festival took place again in 2007 and has since showcased Afghan documentaries and short films, as well as European films and productions from the region. The selection of films for the festival is made by an executive board, comprising the international co-sponsors, independent Afghan film-makers and the winner of the previous year’s festival.
The National Literature Forum, sponsored by the Goethe-Institut, takes place every year in a different province, providing authors from across Afghanistan the opportunity to present their works and attend readings. The first two Forums in 2004 and 2005 took place in co-operation with the Afghan Literature Society in Herat. The third Forum of 2006 was organised in co-operation with the PEN Centre Afghanistan and took place in Kabul, where more than 150 authors took part. The fourth Forum of 2007, organised by the Goethe-Institut Kabul, the PEN Centre Afghanistan, the University of Kabul Faculty of Language and Literature, the Afghan Literature Societies of Herat and Jalalabad and the French Cultural Centre Kabul, took place in Jalalabad. Held in Mazar-e-Sharif in November 2008, the fifth Forum featured works by more than 200 authors from both Afghanistan and foreign countries. The 6th Forum, which was planned to take place in Khost in 2009, had to be cancelled for security reasons, and was held in Kabul a year later, focusing on children’s literature.
For some years the government-owned Beihagi Publishers have organised book fairs in Kabul. A fair held in Spring 2009 on the campus of the University of Kabul showcased books published by the government and by private companies. In the following Spring the event was repeated on the premises of the Foundation for Culture and Civil Society (FCCS). In the same year, Beihagi Publishers displayed books published by the Academy of Sciences and other government agencies in Badom Bagh and again at the office of the Afghan Tourism Organisation.
The Afghanistan International Carpet Fair was launched in 2007 by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan (EPAA) in co-operation with the Carpet Producers and Exporters Union and the Kabul Carpet Association. Held annually in October, the fair showcases carpets, rugs, and handicrafts from every area of Afghanistan’s carpet weaving industry.
Organised by the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency (AISA), the Kabul International Exhibition Mirroring the New Afghanistan was first held in 2006, and again in October 2010. Providing a platform for Afghan enterprises, the 2010 exhibition included carpets, embroidery, items carved from wood or stone, pottery, jewellery, calligraphy, and paintings for sale.
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