Burqa Boxers

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Status: In Production (expected date of completion: July 2013)
Producers: 24 Images France, Celeste Images Switzerland

In a culture where beauty, delicacy, refinement and submission are the prized traits to the ultimate feminine career fulfillment, marriage, young Muslim girls knock out a few stereotypes learning boxing at a little club in Kiddirpur, Kolkata. Burqa Boxers tells the story of these warriors, Praveen Sajda twenty one, Noorafroz Khatoun twenty five, and Ajmera Khatoon, thirteen, as they train for the state amateur boxing championship. Lead by Razia Shabnam, one of the first Indian women to become a coach and an international referee, Burqa Boxers is the story of their hopes, dreams, aspirations, and frustrations, it is the story of their first baby steps towards an idea called emancipation.

Alka Raghuram is a filmmaker and a painter, currently working on Burqa Boxers, a feature documentary about Muslim women Boxers in Kolkata. Burqa Boxers received the Diversity Development Fund from ITVS, and was awarded Grant Open Doors at the Locarno Film Festival in 2011. In August 2012 Locarno Film Festival presented an art exhibition comprising of photographs and video and installation inspired by the documentary.

Alka’s first feature script The Conqueror was presented at the Berlin Talent Project market in 2008, and Tribeca All Access, where Alka was awarded the L’Oreal Woman of Worth Vision Filmmaker Award. Her short films Tired of Dancing, Panchali and The Ant and The Monkey have screened at various festivals in the US and abroad. Panchali received the John Gutman award for innovation in cinema and was a regional finalist in the Student Academy Awards (2004). The Ant and The Monkey received the Emerging Arts Fund in Spring 2006 from The Peninsula Community Foundation, and was nominated for the Princess Grace Award in 2005Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries and Museums in New York.

Burqa Boxers will be her first feature documentary.