Buzkashi! is a story of three fascinating characters who are at the top of their sport of Buzkashi in Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic nestled in the Pamir mountains. Donning their protective equipment – including tank helmets from previous wars – they steer their horses to join the hundreds of others playing on the plateaus of this mountainous country. The rivalries, alliances politics and intrigues surrounding the sport put ancient values of honor and integrity head-to-head with ego-driven hunger for power and wealth.
The film uses the sport as an underlying structure to enter into the personal lives of these weekend warriors in a distant part of the world, and through it the players who on the surface may initially appear foreign, quickly begin to feel surprisingly familiar.
Where is Tajikistan?
Little known in the West, Tajikistan is a former Soviet state sitting just north of Afghanistan and west of China. From the Persians to Genghis Khan to the Russians, waves of invasions have given it layers of history, culture and knowledge. The famous Silk Road (one of several) also passed through this territory, allowing for the cross-pollination of ideas, cultures and ethnicities between East and West that make it the rich society that it presently is.
Sitting in the shadows of the majestic Pamir Range, and with 93% of the country covered by mountain landscapes, Tajikistan offers a wonderful context to tell the story of Buzkashi!.
Produced with the assistance of the Shaw Media-Hot Docs Completion Fund