Havana Marking

Havana Marking
Born England
Occupation Director, producer
Years active 2005–present

Havana Marking is a British producer and director of documentary films. She is best known for the 2009 film Afghan Star which won Best Director and the Audience Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. The film follows a season of the Afghan TV phenomenon, based on the X-Factor / American Idol. Marking lived in Kabul for five months and focused on four main contestants in the series. The film changed pitch at the moment that Setara Hussainzada (a young woman from Herat) danced during her final performance. This led to death threats, condemnation and the possibility that the show itself might be stopped. The film also won The Grierson award for ‘best doc on a contemporary issue’ and the Prix Italia and is available on DVD.

She has subsequently made films for HBO (Silencing the Song), and More4 (Vote Afghanistan!) and has most recently finished a part-animated feature, Smash & Grab: the Story of the Pink Panthers, about Balkan diamond thieves for BBC Storyville. She is also Executive Producer on numerous films, notably To Hell and Back Again (dir Danfung Dennis), nominated for an Academy Award 2012. Hell and Back Again is also available on DVD.

Marking is one director of the British independent film company Roast Beef Productions, whose ‘business plan’ was only to: “Get a studio, fill it with talented people and see what happens”… Finally her articles and photographs have been published in the Guardian, The Observer and the Telegraph.

Marking was born in England and moved to the United States as a child. Her father, Giles Marking, is a successful designer in London and was an Architecture professor at the University of Washington. Stacy Marking, her mother, is a journalist, writer and business woman and was one of the first female television directors in the UK.


Year Film Notes
2005 What Would Jesus Drive? Producer
The F Word Producer
The Great Relativity Show
2007 The Crippendales
2009 Afghan Star Winner, Best Director and Audience Award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival
2013 Smash & Grab

External links

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