A new documentary film charting the rise of the mighty West Indies Cricket team of the 70’s and 80’s is set to premier at the 5th annual ESPN Sports Film Festival next month.
‘Fire in Babylon’ has been produced by the team behind such classic historical dramas as ‘The Last King of Scotland’ and ‘One Day in September’ and focuses on the success enjoyed by the West Indies set against the socio-political upheaval of the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Despite boasting some of the greatest Cricketing talent ever, the West Indies team of the early 1970’s were inconsistent and ridiculed for being ‘Calypso Cricketers’; the catalyst for the team’s greatness however was a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Australia. Determined to prove the nay-sayers wrong, the team rose from the ashes to conquer all comers and dominated world cricket well into the 1990’s. Along the way, a new generation of icons were born; the likes of Clive Lloyd and Vivian Richards and of course the most fearsome fast bowlers ever to have graced a cricket field; men such as Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall.
Directed by Steven Riley and first previewed at the London Film Festival in 2010, ‘Fire in Babylon’ is an uplifting story set to the music of Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs and Muddy Waters. It explores how the emergence of Reggae Music enhanced the team’s success and how their success – especially in England – galvanized black conscious movements in Britain and South Africa.
Also showing at this year’s festival is ‘Marathon Boy’, Gemma Atwal’s feature length documentary recounting the fascinating story of Budhia Singh, the impoverished 4-year-old boy from Orissa who captured the India’s imagination when he became the world’s youngest marathon runner.
After competing in a number of marathons under the guidance of his coach Biranchi Das, Budhia’s roller-coaster journey turns from an uplifting story of promise and opportunity to one of greed, corruption, exploitation and broken dreams.
The 5th annual Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival gets underway 20th April. www.tribecafilm.com
- Vijitha Alles