I Am Somebody, produced by two-time Academy Award winning Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and directed by a female filmmakers’ collective led by Jamillah van der Hulst, is headlining various film festivals across the world.
[Karachi, 16th November 2023] Producer Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s latest feature documentary, featuring football icon David Beckham in a guest appearance, I Am Somebody tells the story of six street-connected children who are chosen to represent their country at the Street Child World Cup in Qatar. Some of them are from the streets of Brazil and Bangladesh, some come from poor families in Pakistan and another is from a refugee camp in Palestine. But there is one thing that all these children have in common: their lives will change forever when they participate in the Street Child World Cup.
I Am Somebody was awarded the Guirlande d’Honneur for best film in the category “Football feature films” at the 40th Sport Movies & TV – Milano International FICTS Fest (Federation Internationale Cinema Television Sportifs – recognized by the International Olympic Committee), which is considered as the world championship of sports films.
Earlier in October 2023, the World Premiere of I Am Somebody was hosted by Festival do Rio (Brazil) followed up by screenings at Cambridge Film Festival (UK), the Women in Film and Television event in Cyprus, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (USA), Asia Pacific Screen Awards and Milano International FICTS Fest, in November 2023. The film will also be screened at the Dhaka International Film Festival in January 2024.
Worldwide, more than 100 million children live on the streets. With I Am Somebody the filmmakers inform, touch, and inspire the audience to contribute to better rights for street-connected children including the right on identity. The movie was filmed in five countries portraying the children before, during and after the Street Child World Cup that brought together 28 teams with more than 280 street-connected children from 25 countries from across the world for their own boys and girls international football tournaments, festival of arts and congress for their rights. The film demonstrates the power of football to ignite hope and positively impact the lives of these young people.
I Am Somebody is directed by Jamillah van der Hulst from The Netherlands, with assistant director Dina Amin from Palestine and Rio unit director Maria Clara Costa from Brazil. Mike Downey, producer, and the chairman of the European Film Academy and a longtime human rights activist and defender of the rights of street children, and Stephen Daldry, nominee of three Academy Awards for Best Director, are among the involved Executive Producers of the film.
Producer Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy said, “Encouraging and rehabilitating street children, offering them a chance to thrive, is something that is commendable. Our journey to capture the stories of these young talents on the streets of Pakistan, showcasing their determination to shine at the World Cup, and proving that they are just as capable as anyone else, serves as an inspiration for all of us. It’s films like these that make you realize that it is so important to create opportunities for young people. We’re excited to share the film with the rest of the world.”
Director Jamillah van der Hulst on working with the main characters: “It is hard to imagine that over 100 million children live on the streets today. They often are neglected and forgotten. But these children show resilience and despite the extremely challenging circumstances they keep hope for a better future. The children in I Am Somebody opened up to us and their strong characters and touching stories are an inspiration to everyone they meet.”
“It’s incredible to hear about the stories of the street children in the film who participated in the Street Child World Cup in Doha 2022. Muslim Hands’ dedication to strengthening street-connected children through their rights to identity, education, and play is truly commendable for society and the projection through film will create more societal penetration of our street connected agenda of development through football.” said Rehan Tahir, Project Head Maidaan – Muslim Hands (S4D Sports for Development)
I Am Somebody is independently produced by 5th Element Group (USA), Rebel with a Cause (USA), SOC Films (Pakistan) and JaJa Film Productions (Netherlands), with support in post-production by Amsterdam-based Media.Monks.