Lift like a Girl

Egypt/Germany/Denmark, 2021, 92 mins
Director: Mayye Zayed

+ Pre-recorded Q&A
On a corner-lot in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, female weightlifters train to become Olympic champions. Following in the footsteps of some of Egypt’s most famous athletes, 14-year-old Zebiba trains under the tutelage of the visionary Captain Ramadan. Can Zebiba direct her focus to be the weightlifting champion that her coach feels certain she is capable of becoming?

On a busy, noisy high-traffic street corner in Alexandria, Egypt, a seemingly vacant corner lot surrounded by chain link fencing is the training site of Egypt’s most elite champions – female weightlifters.

Zebiba (Arabic for ‘raisin’) has been training at the site for five years, since she was 9, following in the footsteps of Egypt’s most famous athletes of all time – including the first Arab, female, two-time Olympic medallist, Abeer Abdel Rahman, and world champion and Olympic athlete, Nahla Ramadan. Nahla’s father, the visionary Captain Ramadan, has bred champions, female champions, from his makeshift corner-lot training site for over two decades – 4 Olympic, 9 World and 17 Pan African champions.

Now it is Zebiba’s turn. But can Zebiba put aside her youthful instincts, and direct her focus to be the weightlifting champion the Captain is sure she is?

Zebiba’s real name is Asmaa Ramadan. Although her last name is Ramadan as the Captain’s, she is not his daughter. It is just a coincidence or maybe not that they share the same last name, since the two share a very special relationship. It was Captain Ramadan who nicknamed her Zebiba (meaning Raisin in Arabic), because when she first started training, she was so little and as tiny as a raisin.

Captain Ramadan
A former weightlifter and an Olympic athlete who has been coaching women weightlifters for more than 20 years. He has a proven track record of success and more than 400 medals. He is the coach/father of Nahla Ramadan and Nagham Ramadan; the first Egyptian/Arab women to play weightlifting. Yet, Nagham the eldest is a junior world champion bronze medallist while Nahla is a world champion gold medallist, a former world record holder and an Olympic athlete. Captain Ramadan is also the coach of Abeer Abdel Rahman, who is the first Arab female two-time Olympic medallist weightlifter.
Production notes

Director/Writer/Producer: Mayye Zayed
Production Companies: Cléo Media, Jyoti Films, Rufy’s Films
Co-producers: Anke Petersen, Anna Bolster
Director of Photography: Mohamad El-Hadidi
Editor: Anna Bolster
Sound Designer: Samir Nabil
Sound Designer and Mixer: Brian Dyrby
Music Composer: Marian Mentrup

Egypt/Germany/Denmark 2021
92 mins

Opening Night: European Premiere: Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) + pre-recorded Q&A
Fri 4 Jun 20:15
UK Premiere: Lift like a Girl + pre-recorded Q&A
Sat 5 Jun 20:15
International Premiere: My Name Is Pauli Murray + pre-recorded Q&A
Sun 6 Jun 18:30
UK Premiere: The First 54 Years: An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation + pre-recorded Q&A
Fri 11 Jun 20:20
Closing Night: World Premiere: The Story of Looking + pre-recorded Q&A
Sat 12 Jun 20:50

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
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