the story

Kabul, December 11, 2014. During the premiere of a theatre play about suicide bombings a 17 years old boy blows himself up. Some in the audience clap, because at first they think the explosion is part of a very realistic re-enactment. Only when panic spreads do they realize what happened.
The documentary film TRUE WARRIORS tells the story of the actors and the musicians who were on stage that day. With their play, they wanted to make a point against the terror and violence that eats up their country. Now they are paralyzed by fear. Ever getting on a stage again? Unimaginable! Becoming a famous musician? Way too dangerous!
Only when violence hits a second time, some of the artists decide to take a different approach.They become ever more radical as artists. Not only do they go back on stage – they also play the most daring piece imaginable, on the streets of Kabul, unprotected.
TRUE WARRIORS reminds us that if we really want to defeat terrorism we need to offer more than fear and hatred. One of the actors said after a screening in Germany: "We need to move from a culture of war to a culture of peace – and who could lead the way but us artists?".
English language trailer (5'):
Previous festivals:
- Festival de cinema international de Algiers (Algeria)
- Festival de cine y derechos humanos Barcelona (Spain)
- Human Rights Film Festival York (UK)
- Afghan International Film festival Stockholm (Sweden – won best documentary)
- Afghan International Film Festival Ladenburg, Germany (2nd prize, long documentary).
True Warriors was hosted by the German ministry of foreign affairs in Berlin, at the embassy in Kabul, and at King's College London, and screened more than 150 times with a Q&A in German cinemas.
Version française diffusé sur ARTE le 6 juin 2018 – en France sous le titre "Kaboul: Les guerriers de l'art". Bande-annonce française ici.
Auf ARTE gesendet am 6.6. 2018 – in Frankreich unter dem Titel "Kaboul: Les guerriers de l'art". Französischer Trailer hier.
True Warriors was directed and produced by Ronja von Wurmb-Seibel and Niklas Schenck. Both grew up in Germany and freelance for major journalistic publications like DIE ZEIT, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, GEO and public broadcaster NDR/ARD. Together, they had lived in Kabul in 2013 and 2014 before embarking on TRUE WARRIORS and produced two half-hour films for German public broadcaster NDR – a narrative story about a live-in-community of peace activists from four different ethnic groups (7 days in Kabul) and an investigative report on deadly unexploded ordinance that NATO forces left behind on their former training ranges (Das tödliche Erbe der NATO). Ronja published the book "Of alle places Kabul – 13 stories of life in a war". Niklas was nominated for the prestigious Grimme Award for his first film "Geheimer Krieg (Secret Wars, with Joehn Goetz and Christian Fuchs)" (NDR/ARD 2014, about German secret involvement in US war on terror, NDR/ARD 2013), and up for an Emmy for the multimedia feature „Love for my enemies“ (2015).
Co-Director and Cinematographer
Lukas Augustin reached hundreds of thousands of viewers online with his short film "Touch Down in Flight" from Afghanistan and his documentary "The Hard Places" (PBS) is also set in the country. His documentary "Unforgiven" (NDR, Germany) was nominated for the Grimme-Awards and the German Documentary Film Award, and won him the CNN Journalist Award 2015. His multimedia- feature „Love for my enemies“ together with Niklas Schenck was nominated for an EMMY.
Other team members
The film editor was Julia Drache, nominated for an Academy Award 2018 for her short film WATU WOTE. The music was composed and performed by Andrej Melita. Narrative consultant was Andrew Bird, the longtime editor for Fatih Akin, and Dan Maag from Pantaleon Films co-produced the documentary film.

"If we all stop,

they're going to win."