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Directed by Gemma Atwal
FEATURE DOCUMENTARY 98 Minutes North American Premiere

Gemma Atwal's dynamic epic follows four-year-old Budhia, rescued from poverty by Biranchi Das, a larger-than-life judo coach and operator of an orphanage for slum children in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. When Budhia displays an uncommon talent for long-distance running, Biranchi nurtures his gift, heralding him as a folk hero for the impoverished masses, and maybe even for India itself. But after golden child Budhia breaks down during a world-record 65 kilometer run at the age of four, public opinion begins to turn on the guru and his disciple, and soon the two are swept up in a maelstrom of media controversy and political scandal.

Following Budhia's roller-coaster journey over five years, Marathon Boy is a Dickensian tale of greed, corruption, and broken dreams set between the heart-racing world of marathon running, the poverty-stricken slums, and the political intrigue of a modernizing India. Nothing is what it seems in Budhia and Biranchi's riveting story, and Atwal continually shifts viewer identification to tell both a shocking story of opportunism and exploitation, but also a touching portrait of an authentic bond between a parent and child.

Female Director(s), Sports, Documentary
About the Director(s)
GEMMA ATWAL worked as a freelance director and producer on a variety of UK television documentaries. She spent three years working as a development producer for independent UK production houses. She has also worked as a business journalist for the Madrid-based NOA Media Group in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Europe.

Film Info
  • Section:
    World Documentary Competition
  • Year:
  • Length:
    98 minutes
  • Language:
    Oriya, Hindi, English
  • Country:
  • Premiere:
    North American
  • Connect:
Cast & Credits
  • Primary Cast:
    Budhia Singh, Biranchi Das
  • Producer:
    Gemma Atwal, Matt Norman
  • Animation:
    Ben Foley
  • Editor:
    Peter Haddon
  • Director:
    Gemma Atwal
  • Executive Producer:
    Alan Hayling, Sheila Nevins
  • Composer:
    Garry Hughes



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