Featured image: 14-year-old Zebiba lifts weights at a competition in the documentary Lift Like a Girl. (Photo courtesy of Route 504 PR.)
In the new documentary Lift Like a Girl, a 14-year-old female weightlifter named Zebiba trains in Alexandria, Egypt, on a street corner that looks like an abandoned construction site. This doesn’t look like the spot where champions would train, but it is. This is the training site of champion female weightlifters in Alexandria, where their coach, Captain Ramadan, has created Olympic Champions and Pan-Am Champions, including his daughter Nahla Ramadan.
Now it’s Zebiba’s turn, as he takes her under his wing and tries to lead her to greatness and train her for the Olympics. He does this through tough love; as he’s on top of the world when Zebiba does a lift properly, and it’s like the world’s ending if she ha a mental block that doesn’t let her lift the weights successfully. It’s a fascinating dynamic that comes into play throughout the documentary.
I was able to speak with the film’s director Mayye Zayed for Lift Like a Girl on this episode of my podcast The Filmcraziest Show. On the episode, we get a bit into the background of how long Zebiba had been training and her nickname. We also talked about how often Mayye and her team would film and how much editing they had to do. We touched on Captain Ramadan’s coaching style, some of Zebiba’s mental battles, and generally overcoming obstacles. We also talk about going to the Cairo International Film Festival in 2020.
There’s much more in between and you can listen to the podcast directly below, download it here or go to listen to it on YouTube, as well, where it’s audio only. Lift Like a Girl is available to rent or buy on Apple TV, and is also available to stream on Netflix in both the U.S. and Canada just in time for the Olympic Games. You can also find the film’s website right here, as well.
*Podcast music courtesy of bensound.com