DCP - HD - 2013 - United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Lebanon - 75 & 52 Min - Color
Champ of the Camp
A film by Mahmoud Kaabour
“Champ of the Camp” is the first ever feature-length documentary filmed in the controversial labor camps of the United Arab Emirates. The film follows a massive Bollywood singing and trivia competition that searches across more than 70 camps throughout the country to find and crown the champ of all camps.
The film alternates between the x-factor style suspense of the competition and the gritty reality of the labor environment, while weaving in intimate access scenes of their daily routines and emotional reflections on their life as laborers in Dubai. Narrated (and sung) entirely in the voices of the laborers, it paints a complete portrait of this vast and isolated population of men who come to build the dream cities of the Arab world while supporting their societies and economies back home.
Mahmoud Kaabour is a multi award-winning director, writer, and lecturer from Lebanon, based in the United Arab Emirates. With the record-setting successes of his work, he has emerged as the most distinguished documentary filmmaker in the region.
His ground-breaking film Teta, Alf Marra (Grandma, a Thousand Times) screened to packed houses in over 55 cities worldwide, scooping up a staggering seven major Audience awards and Best Film awards in London, Mumbai, Mexico City, Qatar, Syria, and China. With glowing reviews from top global press (including a “New York Times critics pick”), he brought mainstream exposure to the Arab documentary industry in 2011 with theatrical runs in LA and NYC and an Academy Awards qualification.
Kaabour graduated with distinction from the Mel Oppenheim School of Cinema in Montreal. His first film Being Osama, the documentary on the lives and times of six men sharing bin Laden’s first name in the post 9/11 world, received four international awards and was aired on twelve international channels. It also made him the youngest commissioned filmmaker in the history of Canadian television.
Kaabour is the founder and managing director of Veritas Films, the UAE’s leading production company for non-fiction films. His commercial work includes directing dozens of tailor-made documentaries for the UAE’s top governmental and corporate entities. Having grown up in the UAE, Mahmoud brings a directing style that balances sophisticated documentary approaches and an understanding of this region’s unique sensibilities and future aspirations. In additional to his corporate and creative directorial work, he provides media consultancy and curatorial services, as well as teaching master documentary classes to up-and-coming filmmakers.
Original language: Hindi
Produced by: Veritas Films
In coproduction with: Creative Kettle
With the support of: The Doha Film Institute, Screen Institute Beirut
Dubai International Film Festival 2013