THE FILM MAKER AND FILM BACKGROUND
Iranian Film maker Sohrab Kavir’s family was completely devastated by the loss of three of his brothers to the inherited familial form of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy the most severe, fatal, genetic disorder diagnosed in early childhood . Children born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) cannot produce dystrophin, a protein that is vital for muscle strength. They gradually lose their ability to walk, are most often wheelchair users by the age of 12 and will usually die before the age of 25 due to the respiratory and cardiac complications caused by the muscle damage. Kavir was particularly close to his youngest brother Davood who died in very distressing circumstances. Davood’s death left Kavir severely traumatised by survivor’s guilt which unrecognised had huge implications on the course of his life.
Sohrab subsequently moved to the UK and it was a chance meeting with Matin , a young Iranian with Duchenne who shared his brother’s passion for football, that was the catalyst for what would become an 8 year documentary project.
As Sohrab got to know Matin and his family he became aware of the Health and Social care resources available to Duchenne children in the UK in comparison to Iran. He soon realised the huge significance and implications of this disparity for Iranian children with Duchenne. Matin was a very successful player in the UK Power Wheelchair Football League and additionally he was a skilled online football player. Matin particularly impressed Kavir with his incredible drive and ambition to overcome his disability and pursue his love of football.
THE FILM -FOOTBALL DREAM
Sohrab’s film, Football Dream begins as an idea to arrange an International online football tournament between Iranian and English Duchenne children but soon develops into a cathartic journey that enables Kavir to focus his grief and his passion for film making on bringing the plight of the Iranian Duchenne children to the attention of a worldwide audience.
Kavir returns to Iran to find players for the Iranian Duchenne online football team and his travels take him across the country where he meets Duchenne families from all socioeconomic backgrounds. He listens to their stories and comes face to face with the harsh day to day reality of a life without the medical treatment, social and financial support that so many of us take for granted.
Football Dream emphasises not only the tragedy, inequality and injustice of such short lives but ultimately the resilience, optimism and determination of the children, the love of the families for each other and the amazing resourcefulness of Iranian people in the face of incredible hardship. It highlights a system that does not recognise the rights of a child with a disability to have equal access to education and healthcare and most importantly to have the opportunity to fulfil their dreams and ambitions in the precious time they have. Most importantly Kavir’s film is a testament to how granting even small wishes can mean the entire world to a child and how the memories of the people we love can become a powerful force for driving forward change.
Kavir continues to campaign along with his sister Mitra to improve the lives of Iranian DMD children in the memory of their three brothers.
The film has yet to be finished for festival but private showings have indicated the power of the film to portray its message and to really affect people emotionally.