Marathon Boy

A coach and a slum boy united by a dream. Divided by the world.

Produced by Gemma Atwal & Matt Norman

“I owe an immense debt of gratitude to WorldView for their support of MARATHON BOY. Their commitment to me as a filmmaker enabled me to complete my final filming trip to India.”

Gemma Atwal’s dynamic epic follows four-year-old Budhia, rescued from poverty by Biranchi Das, a larger-than-life judo coach and operator of an orphanage for slum children in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. When Budhia displays an uncommon talent for long-distance running, Biranchi nurtures his gift, heralding him as a folk hero for the impoverished masses, and maybe even for India itself. But after golden child Budhia breaks down during a world-record 65 kilometer run at the age of four, public opinion begins to turn on the guru and his disciple, and soon the two are swept up in a maelstrom of media controversy and political scandal.

Following Budhia’s roller-coaster journey over five years, Marathon Boy is a Dickensian tale of greed, corruption, and broken dreams set between the heart-racing world of marathon running, the poverty-stricken slums, and the political intrigue of a modernizing India. Nothing is what it seems in Budhia and Biranchi’s riveting story, and Atwal continually shifts viewer identification to tell both a shocking story of opportunism and exploitation, but also a touching portrait of an authentic bond between a parent and child.

Press

“Gripping and sad and durably ambivalent about its subjects”  The Independent

“Facisnating, dark and gripping” “A beautifully shot, terse film”  The Telegraph

“One of the strangest, most provocative and debatable documentaries in recent memory” Arkansas Times

“An unforgettable documentary” “Rivals any dramatic thriller” The Hollywood Reporter

“Epic, artistic, and even archetypal”  Variety

“Just plain riveting”  Paste Magazine

Awards

Winner, CINE Golden Eagle Award, United States 2012
Winner, Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary, California Film Awards, San Diego, 2012
Winner, Grand Jury Award for Best Film, Mountain Film Awards, Mammoth Lakes, California, 2012
Winner, Spirit of Freedom Award for Best Documentary, Bahamas International Film Festival, 2011
Winner, Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary, 35th Sao Paulo International Film Festival, 2011
Winner, NETPAC Award for Best Asian Cinema Film, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, 2011
Winner, Grand Jury Award for Best New Director, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, 2011
Winner, Grand Jury Prize, EBS International Documentary Festival, EIDF Korea 2011
Winner, Golden Rock Doucmentary, Little Rock Film Festival 2011
Winner, Best Documentary, Rhode Island International Film Festival 2011
Winner, Best Documentary, New Orleans Film Festival
Winner, Top 3 Finalist, VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary
Winner, Audience Award, EBS International Documentary Festival, EIDF Korea 2011
Winner, Best Documentary, VIII Atlant International Sports Film Festival Moscow
Winner, Special Jury Award, Oregon Film Awards 2011
Special Mention, Sheffield Doc/Fest
Audience Award, Top 10, Sheffield Doc/Fest
Official Selection, Tribeca Film Festival 2011
33 Moscow International Film Festival 2011
Audience Award, Top 5, Zagrebdox 2011
Official Selection, San Diego Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival 2011
In Competition, Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2011
Doc, 8. Planete Doc Film Festival, Warsaw 2011
Bergen International Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, :Doku Fest 2011
Official Selection, Goteborg International Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Seattle International Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Docville, International Documentary Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Sedona, International Film Festival
Official Selection, Hawaii International Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival 2011
Selection, Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival
Milwaukee Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Vancouver International Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Tulsa International Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, New Hampshire Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, San Francisco International Film Festival

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