In the northwestern edge of China along the ancient Silk Road, music is one of the hottest commodities. Permeating every corner of the province, it is vibrant and infectious. Yet, around the music lies a troubling reality. The region’s main population—the Uyghur Muslims—gradually watch their numbers dwindle as they are engulfed by Han Chinese settlement.
Apprehensive about life choices, Ay turns to music for answers. She is drawn to musicians who mirror her struggles in their songs. Silk Road of Pop follows Ay’s influences and idols, revealing traditional music culture in Kashgar, metal bands, and hip-hop crews who practice in basements of old communist block towers.
Silk Road of Pop explores what it means to be young and Uyghur in China, showing how music becomes a tool of liberation for a minority trying to assert its identity in a repressive environment.
Sameer Farooq is a Pakistani Canadian born in Nova Scotia. Originally trained as cultural anthropologist, he is co-founder of the documentary collective Smoke Signal Projects. Farooq lived and worked in China on and off over the last 13 years, and he is currently based in Toronto and Rhode Island, where he is completing his MFA.
Russell O. Bush | USA/Canada 2013 | 21:00
In rapidly developing China, Sky Burial—a sacred ritual where the bodies of Tibetan dead are fed to wild griffon vultures—becomes a popular tourist attraction.
Russell O. Bush is a Student Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and two-time Austin Film Society grant recipient based in Austin. He has screened his work at festivals like the AFI Docs, Edinburgh International Film Festival and SXSW.