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Nassim, the territory of memory

Documentary film about Nassim Khushnawaz, his father, Ustad Rahim (one of the greatest musicians in Afghanistan´s history), the music of Herat, and a challenging journey of a man who had to look for himself inside the deepest corners of his memory after a car accident.

Michel Gasco

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Nassim, the territory of memory, is a documentary film about Nassim Khushnawaz, his father, Ustad Rahim (one of the greatest musicians in Afghanistan´s history), the music of Herat, and a challenging journey of a man who had to look for himself inside the deepest corners of his memory after a car accident.

Since the 20´s of the past century the Khushnawaz family has been making music, and for several decades it was the leading musician family in Herat, led by Amir Jan Khushnawaz, the father and grandfather of our main characters.

Ustad Rahim and his family left Afghanistan for Iran after the Taliban came to power in the country. For years Ustad Rahim continued teaching the Rubab and Afghan music and touring in some western countries for concerts and workshops.

In 2010 Ustad Rahim went for a visit to his hometown, Herat, and died of a heart attack.

Nassim traveled to Herat to be in his father´s funeral and when he was getting back to Iran he had a terrible car accident that left him in a coma for several weeks. When he woke up he couldn´t recognize his family and forgot the Rubab too. He had to remember and learn again the mastery of Rubab music that his father had taught him when he was a child.

After a difficult and long recovery and still dragging physical consequences, Nassim continues with the family tradition, teaching his sons and some Afghan and Iranian students the music of Afghanistan:

Nassim´s and his family story run parallel to Afghanistan´s. Years of war and the Taliban government dispersed a collective amnesia over the country, leaving it in a "coma", from which it is trying to recover.

The first time I heard this story, it was from Nassim himself, in late 2012. For years I had wanted to learn the Rubab, specially Ustad Rahim´s style, because it was his music that made me fall in love with this instrument. In a book written by the anthropologist John Baily, I read that Ustad Rahim and his family were in exile in Iran. In that very moment I decided to travel to Iran to try to find Nassim and learn the Rubab with him. Thanks to a musician friend in Tehran I got the contact of another musician from Afghanistan who knew about Nassim and put me in contact with him.I travelled to Mashhad, a city near the border with Afghanistan where Nassim and his family were living. Interestingly, on my first meeting with him, the first piece he played, with his father´s Rubab, was the very same piece I had heard for the first time on Ustad Rahim´s album.

Since then, I have traveled several times to Iran to learn the Rubab with him and get all the information to make this film, in order to show the phenomenal talent of this musician, the tough story of his life and the beautiful music of Afghanistan.

With this film, we want to show not only the beautiful Afghan music, but to help Nassim and show his music and talent. A man destined to be Herat´s music ambassador after the death of his father, but who a series of circumstances has left out of his natural path.

The main team to make this film are, Borja Rodriguez and myself, Michel Gasco, as directors and script writers. The recording team will be hired on the ground to reduce the trip costs.

Your contributions will be spent on:

The contributions will be used to cover the trips, hotels and everything related to the costs of the recording, including the camera man and sound engineer, and the rewards as well.

About the rewards

We will start sending the rewards after one year, more or less. Under the rules of several documentary film festivals we cannot publish the DVD or present it in any online plataform until the documentary has been shown in those festivals, but we are looking for legal solutions to offer an online view as soon as possible.


Shooting: between late December and the begining of February

Organizing the material that has been shot: end of February

Translations, post-production and editing: starting in March, we will try to have everything finished by June to be able to start sending the film to several important international documentary film festivals.


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  • Michel Gasco

    Michel Gasco

    over 5 years

    Hola. Gracias por tu pregunta. Bueno eso es todo hablarlo, ver para que tipo de evento lo queréis, etc etc ¿porque no me escribes a mi email y vamos viendolo?

  • Transcordancias


    over 5 years

    En el supuesto de la aportación de 500 € ¿Para cuántas personas podría ser el concierto privado?

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