Feel-good film follows Afghan cricketing triumph

Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:42am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Good news stories from Afghanistan are rare, but one of them is the national cricket team's remarkable rise to the sport's top table which is the subject of a new documentary.

"Out of the Ashes" is a heartwarming film that follows the rag-tag, inexperienced Afghan team on its odyssey around the world trying to qualify for senior status.

Victories surprisingly outweigh defeats along the way, turning the team and coaching staff into heroes at home, and the film captures how important success is for a group of men whose enthusiasm and pride in their country is overwhelming.

The Taliban's insurgency against Western forces, the focus of international media coverage in Afghanistan, is barely mentioned in the 90-minute movie which has its world premiere at the Edinburgh film festival on Thursday.

"It's what the Afghans want to tell the world," said co-director Timothy Albone, who spent three years in Afghanistan as a reporter for the Times newspaper.

"They want to talk about what they are doing and what their interests are. We gave the characters the chance to say what they wanted to say about Afghanistan, and they didn't want to talk about the war.

"They are normal people like us with many of the same concerns and interests," he told Reuters.