Afghan teens of 'Buzkashi Boys' stargazing in Hollywood

Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:14pm EST
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By Kilmeny Duchardt

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The teenage stars of an Oscar-nominated short film from Afghanistan arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday for the Academy Awards after an Internet campaign raised enough money to pay for their trip.

"Buzkashi Boys" actors Fawad Mohammadi and Jawanmard Paiz will walk the red carpet and rub shoulders with Hollywood's biggest stars at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

The film focuses on two children growing up in Kabul who dream of becoming Buzkashi riders, horsemen who compete in the dangerous Afghan national sport similar to polo in which riders try to carry a headless goat across a goal line.

The film garnered U.S. director Sam French an Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short Film.

Its producers launched the campaign because, they said, they lacked a travel budget for the 14-year-old actors.

"I'm so happy and excited," Mohammadi told Reuters at Los Angeles International Airport after flying more than 18 hours from the Afghan capital. "I can't say my feelings."

Some 237 people donated money to the travel fund, which raised $11,751, eclipsing its $10,000 goal, fundraising website said. Donations were received from 13 countries, including the United States, Afghanistan, India and Germany.

Turkish Airlines donated the tickets for Mohammadi, Paiz and a chaperone.   Continued...

Director Sam French (C) and 14-year-old Afghan actors Fawad Mohammadi (L) and Jawanmard Paiz of the Oscar nominated live-action short film Buzkashi Boys, laugh together after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles, California February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Patrick Fallon