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  • Jennifer Macedo Yang, Director
  • Justine Rose Armen, Producer

a face stares out the window on a cloudy day

About the Project

Filmed over the course of seven years, PARASTOO is a coming-of-age story that follows a young Afghan girl named Farzana through the growing pains of young adulthood, the heartbreaking refugee resettlement process, and her dreams of becoming an actress.

“In Farsi, parastoo is the name of a bird. It is always migrating and moving and always traveling. This is the fate of migrants.”
- Saleh Sepas, founder of Parastoo Theater

A few years into her life as an Afghan refugee living in Southeast Asia, 15-year-old Farzana nurtures the impossible dream of becoming an actress. When her brother-in-law Saleh casts her as the lead of his play in his small but growing theater group called Parastoo, she finally gets her chance. But with a growing crisis in her homeland, no legal protections in her new country, and no forward movement in her resettlement case, Farzana realizes her future hangs in the balance.

Beginning in 2017 and filmed over seven years, short documentary PARASTOO is a coming-of-age story that follows Farzana through the growing pains of young adulthood, the unpredictable asylum-seeking process, and her inspiring journey from an amateur actress to a theater director. With the guiding hand of her brother-in-law and director Saleh, Farzana grows a confidence not just in her art but also in speaking out about the injustices around her – inspiring other young girls in the Afghan and refugee communities of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

As the years pass, the film exposes the often tragic and unseen underbelly of war and the refugee resettlement process. While theater offers Farzana solace and inspiration from her life as a stateless person, it does not mask the never ending limbo of refugee life. As her loved ones and family members – including Saleh – are resettled across the globe, Farzana continues to wait over eleven years for that same chance at a stable future.

Anticipated release late 2024.