Al-Kateab, who was nominated for an Oscar for her Syrian Civil War documentary, is helming the doc, which is produced by The White Helmets and Virunga producer Joanna Natasegara, who runs Violet Films, and Bryn Mooser and his non-fiction studio XTR.
The doc is backed by Airbnb founder Joe Gebbia, who exec produces alongside Jason Ropell and Nevine Mabro and XTR’s Justin Lacob and Kathryn Everett.
Al Kateab and Natasegara have had unprecedented access to the IOC Refugee Olympic Team before, during and after the 2020 Games, which saw 29 athletes competing in Tokyo, originating from 11 countries, and residing in 13 host nations.
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“I am so honored to have the opportunity to capture the stories of these inspirational athletes on their way to competing at the biggest sports event in the world,” said Waad Al-Kateab. “So much of their experience I recognize in my own journey as a refugee and I feel very committed to representing their heart, determination and resilience in a way that they deserve. Despite the hardship for anyone leaving their homeland behind, the Refugee Olympic Team stories are a moving combination of ambition, joy and challenges.”
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“It’s a thrill to be working with this team on this film,” said Joanna Natasegara. “The Refugee Olympic Team is a rich and diverse group showing off the best of humanity’s traits. Their journeys to date have been challenging both in life as well as on the road to Tokyo and we feel privileged to have had the opportunity to live through this period with them. Through Waad’s unique vision and leadership and our truly unique access, we endeavour to create a very special portrait of these world-class athletes at an amazing point in their lives.”
“Our hope for this documentary is to shed light on the global refugee crisis through the lens of these talented athletes who have continued to show immense bravery and strength no matter their circumstances,” said Bryn Mooser, CEO of XTR. “We are honored to support Waad to tell the stories of these amazing athletes and her perspective on their survival and perseverance is deeply personal and profound.”
“Global refugee relief and protection is a crucial issue and one that is very important to me,” said Joe Gebbia. “Being able to tell this revolutionary story to show the struggles of these triumphant and incredible athletes conquering one of the greatest human feats, is an honor. Their experiences deserve to be shared with the world at large.”
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