After world-premiering in Toronto as well as the Cairo International Film Festival, the documentary ‘Lift Like a Girl’ is now available on Netflix to watch worldwide, according to a statement on the film’s Facebook page.
The first Egyptian documentary to be streamed on Netflix, ‘Lift Like a Girl’ tells the story of a teen weightlifter as she emerges from a scrappy training camp in Egypt to compete at the championship level.
Filmmaker Mayye Zayed, who studied film and documentary making at Wellesley and MIT, first heard of the main character of the documentary in 2003, when the news of an Egyptian girl from Alexandria, Nabila Ramadan, becoming the world champion in (female) weightlifting caught her attention.
Speaking to Variety, Zayed noted that she only had the chance to meet Captain Ramadan, her father, and coach, in 2014, which sparked the beginning of her journey to film the documentary.
“I spent so many years with them that at the end we became kind of like family,” she shared. “I think it can be very interesting to an international audience because it breaks stereotypes especially about women from the Middle East. There is this notion that women in the MENA region are always oppressed, or whatever. There are these cliches. And I think part of the problem is that many of the films coming from the region are made by men. They tell the story from their perspective.”
The documentary film achieved international success before arriving to Egypt, winning the Golden Dove for Best Film in the German Competition at the International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film,
The film won further awards including The Bronze Pyramid Award at the Cairo International Film Festival 2020, and the Youssef Cherif Rizkallah Award and the ISIS Award for best Egyptian film showing the economic and social emancipation of women.