A long ten years in the making comes to fruition this week for the film 'Without a Fight.' Raleigh photographer and director, Jason Arthurs', full-length directorial debut marks the completion of a project that has not only touched the lives of many local residents, but of a community half way around the world.
The community is Kibera, one of the largest slums in East Africa, and is full of violence and ethnic tension. In this community that struggles daily with a myriad of issues from clean water availability to disease and inter-tribal violence, there is one saving grace that transcends ethnic boundaries and uplifts spirits like nothing else, and that's soccer. On the soccer field, tribal alliances are forgotten and players work together to not only forget the daily challenges faced to survive, but to win more than just a game.
"For the youth of Kibera, soccer is not just a game. It’s a way of life. It’s part of how they survive from day to day in one of the most desperate places on Earth. Without a Fight follows the personal lives of Nicholas and Adan as their teams prepare to meet in the title match of the Champions League, a soccer league started 11 years ago by Carolina for Kibera founder Rye Barcott based on an experiment to see if putting rival tribes on the same team could help stop ethnic violence." With the post-2008 Kenyan presidential election violence still palpable, the players and coaches in the film are faced with more than the challenge of winning a game. It's about survival, and making it through the day without a fight.
Behind the scenes of the film is an all-star Triangle cast. Producer, Beth-Ann Kutchma of Red Collar, has been with Carolina for Kibera since the first years, and brought Arthurs on board the film after working with him on a project while he was at the News & Observer. When it came down to the music for the film, she turned to Megafaun's Phil and Brad Cook to write the score, and the Love Language's BJ Burton to produce it.
The film premiered in Berlin last month at the 11mm Film Festival, but this Friday (April 13th) is the U.S.'s first screening, and lucky for us it's on home turf. Following the film will be a Q&A with not only those involved with the film here in the U.S., but Kennedy Juma, a resident of Kibera and organizer of the soccer tournament, will be there as well. The film screens at 10:20, and tickets are available on the Full Frame website and at the festival itself.