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
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 they 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?".
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.