Obviously Brooklyn is very, very inspiring place to be… Coz when you put your fingers, eyes or mind on some art piece which has a label ‘Made in Brooklyn’, you can always expect something special.
Kief Davidson, feature film and documentary director, was born and raised in Brooklyn, very vivacious area of New York. Today, I’m gonna blog about his documentary ‘Kassim the Dream‘ that covers life story of African boxer Kassim The Dream Ouma.
The film had its World Premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and since then it just ‘foraged’ the majority of film festivals in the States and Europe.
The improbable story of Kassim ‘The Dream’ Ouma, who was kidnapped in the north of Uganda at the age of six and forced to be a child soldier in the rebel army of Yoweri Museveni. Besides being taught to kill, he also learned to box. His ‘therapy,’ as he now calls it. By the time Ouma was 18, Museveni had already ascended to the presidency. It was then that Ouma went with the national boxing team to the United States for a championship and escaped.’
‘He had no money or connections and didn’t speak a word of English, but then he walked into a boxing school and the rest is history. Ouma was soon to become the Junior Middleweight Champion of the World. Although he has taken up permanent residence in the United States, his homeland continues to exert a force on him. Because of his escape, he hasn’t been able to return to Uganda, but he wants to give it another shot with diplomatic support from his adopted country. (www.zagrebdox.com)
When Kief Davidson’s wife and producer Kathleen Davidson was watching the late programme in 2005, switching between two programmes: HBO and E!; she stumbled upon a short news segment on HBO Real Sports about Kassim. They were both shocked and impressed at the same time with this young man who has a babyish smile on his face. Ouma, indeed, has great charisma that kept him mentally and emotionally alive all those years.
This film is one of the best portrayals I saw lately in documentary film, no doubt. Obviously, not only because of the brutal story, good energy behind Urban Landscapes Production and impressive camera, but also because Kassim Ouma has an energy that you can’t simply ignore in order to follow the story untouched and fully objective.
The screenplay follows Kassim Ouma in the manner of Antique story telling (take it pejoratively), yet staying in modern documentary genre. I used the word Antique because the life story of the main character is definitely a tragedy: he did terrible crimes as a child – torturing and killing people, he follows then his own path starting from broken pieces. But only when he visits the grave of his father, begging to forgive him, he can bury his past, in a way; because his father was beaten to death as a reprisal for Kassim’s desertion from army. That’s the only way the circle could be closed.
A stolen childhood is something that none championship belt can get back, but still Kassim stands as horrible and amazing witness on Africa with way too heavy burden on his soul.