Rockabul chronicles a unique and brave story by Australian journalist/filmmaker Travis Beard who put his life on the line to show a part of Afghan culture that is rarely represented in Western Media. Rockabul digs much deeper than the news headlines about conflict in Afghanistan as it looks into the complex terrain of daily life, the real life stories and experiences of the local community and generational change. The documentary follows the birth, rise and fall of Afghan Heavy Metal Music on the front-line of one of the longest wars. It is through music that the Afghan youth find positivity, meaning and hope in a devastated nation.
After 9/11 troop battles raged on the frontline of Afghanistan but the capital Kabul itself was awash with expats looking for entrepreneurial ways to spend development money offered by the Americans and their allies including Australia. The investments were to fight conflict with culture and provide foreign aid in an attempt to rebuild the decimated nation. Australian Director, Travis Beard originally went to Afghanistan to volunteer as a journalist and to teach photojournalism to the locals. While there he got the 'Afghan Bug', stumbled upon a seed of a creative scene and decided to harvest it. In doing so, he provided hope to the Afghan youth through activities such as skateboarding, graffiti and alternative music. He saw potential in the band District Unknown (DU) and took the opportunity to manage Afghanistan's first heavy metal band. Qasem, Pedram, Qais, Lemar and eventually Yosef are members of DU and are full of optimism and teenage hubris much like any other ambitious group of young men from the West. The difference is, their nation is one at war and the difficulties that they face come with extra costs and risks.