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Zanzibar Soccer Dreams
Zanzibar Soccer Dreams

23 films featuring Rio to Toronto and around the world, are on the lineup for the 2016 Canadian Sport Film Festival (CSFF) taking place May 20 to 22 at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, Canada.

The 8th annual CSFF will open with the films Fighting for Peace, and Sully’s; and closes with Zanzibar Soccer Dreams, and Boxing For Freedom.

“With billions of eyes on the Summer Olympics this year, and Toronto’s recent experience as host city for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, we know international sporting events generate a craving for healthy dialogue and discussion surrounding important social issues,” said Russell Field, Executive Director. “Our film festival addresses that need as the majority of our films feature a sport that will be part of this summer’s competition in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”

Every year, CSFF films feature the remarkable resilience of people in challenging circumstances who find hope through sport. Powerful stories are put on screen that highlight the ways in which sport, recreation, and play matter in the everyday lives of people and offer opportunities for social change.

Of the 23 films presented this year, highlights include:

Fighting for Peace (Opening Night) – Two young boxers living in one of Rio’s most violent and poorest slums are on a quest to become national champions. With one having lost a sister to addiction, and the other as sole provider for his mother and seven siblings, the film looks at what it takes to be a winner.

Sully’s (Opening Night) – As one of Toronto’s most legendary boxing gyms, Sully’s served as a training home of Nicky Furlano, George Chuvalo and even Muhammad Ali. Viewers will learn more about the man behind the beloved boxing institution.

Eastern – Four students at a storied Toronto high school with a great basketball pedigree find themselves competing for the school’s last chance at championship glory. With the school closing down, they are trying to write a memorable end to one of Canada’s most historic sport programs.

Ron Taylor: Dr. Baseball – In celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Blue Jays, celebrate the life of Ron Taylor. After winning World Series championships as a pitcher, Ron Taylor gave up baseball for a career in medicine. Find out how a life-changing tour of Vietnam led him to become the team physician for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Zanzibar Soccer Dreams (Closing Night) – With all eyes on the Canadian national women’s soccer team’s pursuit of Olympic gold in Rio, meet a remarkable group of women who are fighting just for the right to play the game. Soccer players in Zanzibar have had to overcome religious, cultural and gender prejudices, and the world premiere of this film will be attended by both the film’s director and star. View Trailer

Boxing For Freedom (Closing Night) – Two sisters who are the best female boxers in Afghanistan aim to compete in London 2012 Olympics. But they must first overcome the challenge of being physically active women in a country that doesn’t support it.

As part of the festival, the Canadian Sport Film Festival reaches out to young people in the Greater Toronto Area. CSFF is hosting an interactive panel and engaging workshop for youth that will allow them to actively participate by making their own films. Former Olympic Gymnast Alexandra Orlando, and Olympic boxing hopeful Arthur Biyarslanov are scheduled to participate in the panel.

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