"Riders on the Storm"
With their documentary Riders on the Storm, directors Jason Motlagh and Mark Oltmanns employ the Afghan national sport of buzkashi as a backdrop to chronicling how the country almost immediately fell back under the control of the Taliban after the withdrawal of U.S. troops in August 2021. Motlagh and Oltmanns examines the centuries-long popularity and cultural significance of buzkashi—which requires horseback players to grab a goat carcass and then drop it in a goal—through the on-field feats and off-field struggles of two of the sport’s biggest names, brothers Khaibar Akbarzada and Gulbuddin “Karakov” Mulakhil. Motlagh and Oltmanns follow the brothers as they prepare to compete in a recently inaugurated national buzkashi tournament, which features 16 teams from different Afghan provinces. But when U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Khaibar and Karakov begin to fear their fame and influence may put them on the wrong side of the Taliban. Riders on the Storm will screen during the SXSW Film & TV Festival at 11:15 a.m. March 13 at the Alamo South Lamar, 9:15 p.m. March 15 at the Rollins Theatre at the Long Center, and 12:15 p.m. March 17 at the Alamo South Lamar. Riders on the Storm represents the directorial debut of Iranian-American journalist Jason Motlagh and producer/cinematographer Mark Oltmanns.
Aired: March 14, 2023