Screening: Boxing for Freedom + Q&A
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with directors Juan Antonio Moreno Amador and Silvia Venegas.
Sadaf Rahimi is the most accomplished female boxer in Afghanistan and well known within her community in Kabul, though her talent attracts social ridicule as well as fame. With the encouragement of her school teacher, Sadaf joined the newly-created women’s boxing team at the age of 13 once her family had returned to their country after being refugees in Iran.
One in a group of 30 girls coached by Saber Sharifi, Sadaf trains in Kabul’s Ghazi Stadium – the same stadium used as a venue for public executions under the Taliban government in the late 1990s. Granted permission by their parents to participate in the boxing team, Sadaf and her teammates represent changing perspectives towards women’s roles in Afghan society. Qualifying for some of the most prestigious competitions in the world, the girls’ outlook towards tradition is influenced by their experiences abroad. At the same time, many of the girls are criticised by their classmates and neighbours for having left Afghanistan.
Sadaf’s boxing and academic achievements have led her into public visibility and turned her into a role model for many Afghan young women – although her athletic career has been jeopardised by death threats and interference from the Afghan Boxing Association, which barred her from travelling to compete in the 2012 London Olympics.
Allowing Sadaf to speak for herself, filmmakers Silvia Venegas and Antonio Amador create an inspiring portrait of a confident and ambitious Afghan woman who is fully supported by her family, yet caught in a changing society where government institutions continue to impose strict social restrictions.
Directed by: Silvia Venegas and Antonio Amador