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Naseem, Fight With Grace

Fall Grants 2023 - Post-Production Stage

Ana Naomi De Sousa / Feature Documentary / United Kingdom, Qatar / 100 min / Original Language: Arabic, English / Interests: Sports, History


‘Naseem, Fight With Grace’ resurrects the captivating story of British-Yemeni featherweight boxer Naseem Hamed, an icon of the 1990s, to explore ideas about colonial history, pop culture, faith and identity. Now a largely forgotten figure, Hamed was a sensational sporting talent. He became a world champion at 21 and was lionised from Sheffield to Sana’a. However, derided from his youth as arrogant and flash by English commentators and journalists, Hamed’s career ended abruptly with his one and only defeat, just a few months before 9/11. Our archive-based documentary reflects on his life and times to tell a “people’s history” of Prince Naseem.
As well as celebrating Hamed’s formidable talent and irrepressible charisma, our film explores the resonances and significance of Naz’s power in the ring, and his unwavering pride in his heritage and religion. Weaving together the histories of Sheffield’s steel-working Yemeni community, the violent racism on the streets of Britain from the 1980s, and the explosion of British second-generation subcultures in the 1990s, ‘Naseem Fight with Grace’ explores the tension between Hamed’s near-cult status among certain communities, and the ambivalence of a nation that never took him fully to heart.


Ana Naomi De Sousa
Elhum Shakerifar
Production Company
Hakawati Ltd

About the Director

Ana Naomi de Sousa is a documentary filmmaker and journalist working between London, UK, and Lisbon, Portugal. She was a BAFTA Breakthrough 2021 in recognition of her work around spatial politics, identity, and resistance. Between 2016 and 2019, she collaborated with the Turner-prize nominated Forensic Architecture agency, including as director of the interactive documentary ‘Saydnaya’, which won a Peabody in 2018. From 2009-2014, she produced documentaries and television programmes for Al Jazeera English, directing the films’ Angola Birth of a Movement’, ‘Guerrilla Architect’, ‘The Architecture of Violence’, ‘Ecuador’s Hidden Treasure’, and ‘Hacking Madrid’. She collaborates with the Decolonizing Architecture collective on projects about colonial architectural heritage and legacies in Sweden, Italy, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. Her work has been screened and exhibited in galleries, including the ICA, London, the Venice Architecture Biennale, and MACBA, Spain. Her journalism on Portugal is published by The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, The Funambulist, and Architectural Review.


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    Elhum Shakerifar


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