The Boxing Girls of Kabul (2011 / Canada)

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Director: Ariel J. Nasr | 52 minutes | Canada | 2011 | color | HDcam

About Afganistan

SYNOPSIS

“A group of young Afghan women strive to become world-class boxers, training without the benefit of even the most basic facilities at the national stadium, where only recently women were executed by the Taliban. They are loyal to their country, yet dare to defy its traditions. Inspired by their tenacious coach, these courageous boxers openly dream of their future, and even a shot at the 2012 Olympics. Committed to a challenging regime and enduring family and societal pressures to abandon their training, the women are determined to fight their way onto an international stage. The film shadows them closely over the course of a year, and we come to know them both as individuals and as a team of competitors punching well above their weight. The Boxing Girls of Kabul reveals a compelling journey of both personal and political transformation, and illustrates the power of fighting for what you believe in.” (Film official website)

 

“In the stadium in Kabul where women were once stoned to death during the Taliban regime, kids are learning to box. The girls training here are determined to prove that they are free and modern women. They are literally fighting for respect, for themselves, and for their nation. The filmmakers do talk with their families, but the main focus is on the girls as they train. Their coach Sabir Sharifi is doing everything he can to prepare “his” girls for the 2012 Olympic Games. They have a great deal to thank their freethinking parents for, because they taught them that women are worth the same as men. And the children have also learned that there is more to life than marriage, because if no man comes along, then “Boxing will be their husbands.” But many of the families aren’t united in their support. For many brothers, a boxing sister is nothing to be proud of. This discord is reflected in the country at large; women may be allowed to box in Kabul, but stoning still takes place in other parts of the country. Is Afghanistan ready to show the world that it can produce top-level female boxers? The moment of truth arrives when the girls travel abroad to fight in the ring for the first time.” (IDFA)

““In the time of the Taliban they killed women there…If you go alone to the gym where we train, you will become very scared.” –Sadaf Rahimi
A courageous group of young Afghan women risk persecution to become world-class boxers, training without even the most basic of facilities. Inspired by their coach who was once an Olympic contender, the girls dream about winning medals for their country and a shot at the 2012 Olympics. The film shadows them closely over the course of a year, following three young contenders to their first competition. But when Afghan TV covers a medal won by one of the girls, and the news reports women being stoned in other parts of the country, their lives and their families are threatened. How can they fight with this fear in their bodies? A powerful story of courage and resistance by girls who punch far above their weight.” Lynne Fernie (Hot Docs 12)

TEAM

Writer: Ariel Nasr
Director: Ariel Nasr
Editor: Hannele Halm
Producer: Annette Clarke
Cinematography: Ariel Nasr
Sound recordist: Christopher Yapp
Sound design: Alex Salter
Original music: Julia Kent
Production Agency: National Film Board of Canada / NFB

ON THE WEB

Official film website, Film page on IDFA,

Video trailer on NFB website and Youtube

CONTACTS

Ariel Nasr (@ajnasr) on Twitter

World Sales: National Film Board of Canada

Screening copy: National Film Board of Canada

FESTIVALS & AWARDS

One World International Huma Rights Doc Festival March 2012 Film page

Hot Docs, April 26 to May 6 2012, Toronto, Canada

Doxa – Documentary Film and Video Festival, May 4 to 13 2012, Vancouver, Canada Film page
Golden Sheaf Awards / Short Film and Video Festival, May 24 to 27 2012, Yorkton, Canada
International Film Festival forYouth, April 17 to 21 2012, Halifax – Canada (Award Best Documentary)

ARTICLES AND REVIEWS

Hot Docs: The Boxing Girls of Kabul
canculture.com (Apr 25, 2012) 

ON ADN WEBSITE

. New territories for “the boxing girls of Kabul”

. Hot Docs 2012 selects 20 films from or about Asia Pacific

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