Heavy Metal Islam
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heavy Metal Islam--The Book
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Mark is currently in Egypt filming the documentary. Stay tuned for details. Trailer to premier at South by Southwest Festival in March.

Heavy Metal Islam, a feature length documentary film, will tune audiences in to an alternative vision of the Muslim world that few in the West realize exists: The burgeoning heavy metal scene.  Traveling from the slums of Casablanca to abandoned mansions outside Cairo to clandestine, literally underground gatherings in Iran, we enter a closed universe in the forgotten underbelly of globalization, where musicians and fans take great risks to play and listen to heavy metal with a religious fervor. For them, the music is not just for head-banging—it’s a way to vent widely shared but oft-repressed feelings of anger, anomie and hope in a forum that they—and not the corrupt state or the conservative Mosque—control.

Despite various government crackdowns (deriding the music as Satanic is a favorite ploy) metal scenes continue to flourish across the Muslim world. As these scenes grow, they’re revealing and an entirely different narrative than the one we get from the 24-hour news channels. It’s a story of similarities between East and West, with young people in Egypt venting their rage and expressing their desires in much the same way that kids in Indiana or London do; of collaborations between Western and Eastern musicians; of music—not suicide bombing—as protest and poetry. This odd, often violent-sounding stepchild of rock and roll is proving to be a remarkably transcendent vessel of hope. 

As the film progresses, we’ll see musicians struggling with their history, their religion, and their art, and young kids struggling to make sense of an extreme world with stark choices. Heavy Metal Islam, the film that we’ll forge from this amalgam, will try to see if the seeds of a different, better future might already be growing from the desert sand. 

The feature lenght documentary, now in development, will be an international coproduction between Moxie Firecracker Films and Bonne Pioche Productions, and will feature interviews and footage shot in a variety of settings and countries, including Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, and Iran.

About Moxie Firecracker Films: Founded in 1998 by award-winning filmmakers Liz Garbus and Rory Kennedy, Moxie Firecracker produces documentaries that illuminate larger social issues by telling the stories of everyday people. Together, they produce and direct films for broadcast and cable networks, including HBO, A&E, MTV, TLC, Lifetime Television, The Oxygen Network, Court TV, Showtime, Discovery Channel, Channel 4 UK, and The Sundance Channel, as well as for educational foundations and grant–makers.

About Producer/Director Jed Rothstein:

Jed Rothstein has been working in film since 1995. Most recently, Rothstein produced the HBO documentary feature Coma, directed by Liz Garbus.  He produced and directed God’s Next Army, a cable documentary on fundamentalist Christian college students. Other work includes producing Democracy on Deadline: The Global Struggle for an Independent Press, for PBS, and working on the BBC-Discovery production Kids Behind Bars, for which he received the 2002 EMMY for Research. In 2003, he won a CINE GOLDEN EAGLE for his work as the co-Producer of Rory Kennedy’s Pandemic: Facing AIDS, also for HBO. Currently, he is writing and producing Fire in a Crowded Theater, also directed by Garbus, an HBO documentary about the story of free speech.

Academy Award winning Bonne Pioche Productions is a Paris based independent production company that develops and produces feature films, documentaries and television series. Founded by three partners Yves Darondeau, Christophe Lioud and Emmanuel Priou in 1993, the company is world renowned for developing and producing March of the Penguins. Bonne Pioche has a diverse catalogue for cinema and television with subjects ranging from expedition to social and historical programs as well as art-house films and artist portraits. It has established global partnerships with leading networks, producers, studios, directors and distributors. In 2005 Bonne Pioche expanded into the United States, creating Bonne Pioche International, now headed by Emmy Award winning producer Allyson Luchak.


Click on photo below to view stills from the documentary.


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