A documentary titled “Between Hope and Pain” highlights the disappointment of Kuwaiti athletes in being unable to represent their country at this year’s Rio 2016 Olympics.
The documentary was directed by athlete-turned-director Balsam Al-Ayoub, produced by filmmaker Faisal Al-Duwaisan, and sponsored by the newspaper, Al-Jarida.
The sorrow of the athletes featured stems from Kuwait being banned by the International Olympic Committee for the third time since 2007 for alleged government interference.
Two hundred and five countries in the Olympics, twelve thousand athletes, and the only athletes without a country to represent are the Kuwaitis, Balsam said.
"Even the refugees have a team to represent them . . . I think that's very painful and if I didn't have the courage to document this story, I wouldn't consider myself a champion," she said. "Even if someone else documented this film other than me, I would be very sad."
When explaining the style of the documentary, Faisal explained, “Balsam and I discussed this for so long. We wanted the story of the athletes to be told, we wanted their voices to be heard, so we took the static interview style and made sure the camera is just an observer to how the athletes felt and thought about what’s going on.”
Balsam began filming in April 2016 with Faisal joining in May. Filming was completed by the first week of July, however, the final edit wasn’t ready until two weeks before the first screening, Faisal informed us.
The film, which is 39 minutes long, was first screened on the 31st of July during a private screening and features nine Kuwaiti athletes.
Filming of the documentary wasn’t continuous due to the athletes' busy schedules, which also meant that Balsam and Faisal didn’t have the liberty to pick and stage locations. This restriction added character to the style of the documentary, bringing out the raw emotions of the athletes.
“I would love for the government to take action and do what is best for our country, and especially our athletes,” Faisal concluded.
You can watch the trailer below –