The short documentary Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl), directed by Carol Dysinger and produced by Elena Andreicheva won the Oscar for best Short Documentary. However, this wasn’t just a win for the women struggling to break through the male-dominated Hollywood’s filmmaking, but it was also a win for the brave Afghanistani girls who were skateboarding in one of the most notorious war zones in the world.
Dysinger said after accepting the Oscar for Documentary (Short Subject) that this movie is her love letter to the brave girls of that country. They teach girls to raise their hands, to be courageous, and that they have something to say and no one can stop them.
The movie tells the story of two young students at Skateistan – a school in Kabul that offers kids the chance to pick up skateboarding.
#Oscars Moment: “Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl)” wins for Best Documentary Short. Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva (@_Andreicheva) accept their Oscars. pic.twitter.com/PJThEPxXJJ
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 10, 2020
Skateistan represents an unheard-of opportunity for the repressed girls of Afghanistan. Dysinger told Deadline that it means the world to them. She’s a teacher, and she said that she has never in her life seen kids that were so hungry to learn, and just so happy to learn. The reason for this is because they know it’s not a given, and they like being engaged with their minds.
She explained that if it wasn’t for Skateistan, these girls “would be in the house, around the women helping out and hanging onto skirts, trying not to be bored and taking care of the boys or the babies”.
Skateistan also opens up a much bigger world for these girls, and they would’ve never known about this world if they stayed in their homes. Dysinger said that someone who’s Sunni will see someone’s who’s Shia, and someone who is very poor will see someone who’s rich. They get to witness that other people live differently, and that’s not something they would normally get to do, because it’s a very enclosed society.
The director has spent many years in Afghanistan and she knew that she needed an all-female crew for her movie.
She said that she was constantly crossing the barrier between very serious men and a bunch of women trying to get some food down and a pile of kids.
Dysinger didn’t want to make the movie because of the skateboarding part, but the girl’s part. She thinks that even though the skateboarding was extra, it was effective. However, it was such a pleasure to be able to get her favorite part of Afghanistan, which is the girls.