THE CHAMPION

A Documentary Short

 
 
 
 
 
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EVERYONE HAS A DREAM

From 1968 to 1976, Estaifan Shilaita was the boxing champion of Iraq. Despite his success, Estaifan was barred from representing the Iraqi national team. After this defeat and seeing many of his family members affected by the newly emerging Ba'ath party, he risked everything to leave his home country. He traveled to Greece where he struggled to keep himself afloat as he watched his dreams of boxing slip away. Everything seemed hopeless until he meets his wife Hannah who brings a joy into his life that has lasted almost 40 years. Although Estaifan never finds the success in sports he desires, his journey leads him to a greater success and fulfillment than he ever imagined growing up in Iraq.

 
 
 
 

SCREENINGS

Winner - Aspen Shortsfest - Best Documentary
Winner - Rhode Island International Film Festival - Grand Prize Audience Award - Documentary Short
Winner - Fargo Film Festival - Best Documentary Short
Winner - Canton Film Festival - Best Documentary Short
Winner - BCN Sports Film Festival - Best Production Catalonia
Official Selection Palm Springs International Shortfest
Official Selection San Francisco Doc Fest
Official Selection Heartland Film Festival
Official Selection Milwaukee Film Festival
Official Selection Coronado Island Film Festival
Official Selection Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Official Selection Capital City Film Festival
Official Selection Middle Coast Film Festival
Official Selection Independent Film Festival of Boston
Official Selection Maryland Film Festival
Official Selection Canadian Sports Film Festival
Official Selection deadCENTER Film Festival
Official Selection Hobnobben Film Festival
Official Selection Art of Brooklyn Film Festival

 

 
 
 
 
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PRESS

5 Essential New Short Films From the Palm Springs ShortsFest

Chicago cabby remembers reign as Iraq's boxing champ

Meet the Chicago taxi cab driver dubbed the `The Champion`

Estaifan Shilaita, Chicago Cabbie And Former Iraqi National Boxing Champ, Focus Of In-Progress Film 

 

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS

Brett Garamella is a filmmaker and photographer currently based in Los Angeles. He met Mr. Shilaita back in 2009 and knew that he needed to tell his story. He felt a natural connection to Estaifan like many people who have met him.

Patrick McGowan is a director and editor based in New York City.