The Champion

By Patrick McGowan and Brett Garamella | Documentary
A former Iraqi boxing champion reflects on his journey to pursue the American dream.

Estaifan Shilaita drives a cab in Chicago. But once upon a time, he was a boxing champion in Iraq. Still, despite his success in the ring, his Christian faith prevented him from representing his country on an international stage.

Facing persecution for his religion, Shilaita fled Iraq in 1976 for Greece to pursue his boxing dream. With his family's blessing, he left behind four brothers, four sisters and his parents. Ultimately, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1979 for "a better life and religious freedom."

This fascinating documentary traces the turns and twists that he took from Iraq to the U.S., where he arrived to be with the woman he loved. Well-paced and sharply photographed, it's also the portrait of a likable, engaging man who has created an equally warm and appreciative family around himself, beginning with his wife.

Shot over the course of several years, "The Champion" has an authentic emotional heart, resulting in a warm, genuine film with an eternal message about the primacy and power of family.

"I tell my kids, this is the land of the opportunity to be anything you want," Shilaita added. "Everyday I'm blessed. I say to my family, 'God bless America.'"




You Might Also Like:

Omnibus (Oscars)

By Sam Karmann | Comedy
A man boards the wrong train and desperately tries to get off between stations.

Little Bear

By Nicolas Birkenstock | Drama
A young girl sleepwalks and runs away at night. Now she wants to see where she goes...

Tala'vision

By Murad Abu Eisheh | Drama
A young girl watches a secret TV in a war-torn world. But it becomes life or death.

Iniquity

By Oliver Goodrum | Drama
A man who bullied a disabled girl tries to escape his past. Then an angry mob finds him.

Pony

By Candice Carella | Drama
A single mother leaves her young daughter with a rock musician uncle.

Sylvia

By Richard Prendergast | Drama
A single mother takes her family on a road trip. But it's to an unwanted destination.

Second Best

By Alyssa McClelland | Comedy
Twin sisters turn into rivals when one's gymnastics career steals the spotlight.

No More Wings

By Abraham Adeyemi | Drama
2 friends meet at their favorite fried chicken shop. But their lives have diverged.

Avarya

By Gokalp Gonen | Animation
A man is trapped on a spaceship after his robot overseer finds every planet uninhabitable.

Feeling Through (Oscars)

By Doug Roland | Drama
A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man who changes his life forever...

Ernie

By Hadley Hillel | Drama
A man's suicide attempt rips a hole in the ceiling. Then he befriends the boy upstairs.

Dig Your Own Grave

By Kirk Larsen | Comedy
A man is forced to dig his own grave in the desert. But the ground is hard.

Call Connect

By Josiah Allen and Indianna Bell | Drama
A young helpline operator takes her first call and gets more than she expected.

More Than God

By Kev Cahill | Comedy
A devoted husband suspects his wife is cheating on him. Then he hides under the bed.

Welcome to Iron Knob

By Dave Wade | Comedy
A young boy accidentally shoots a stranger and the town tries to cover it up.



Your favorite short films you haven't seen yet.

Inspiring and insightful. Entertaining and enlightening.
That's what you can expect here: no fluff. Just a steady
stream of the best films delivered to your inbox.