Basketball is much more than a game in David Fine’s stirring documentary about an Iraqi women’s basketball team at the American University of Iraq—Sulaimani (AUIS) in Kurdistan. For the young women on the team, most of whom have never touched a basketball or been allowed to play sports at all before, it is a blissful escape from the realities of living in a war-torn nation.
The team members come from a variety of ethnicities and sects—Arab, Kurd, Christian, Sunni, Shiite—but the joy they discover in playing together and the deep love they come to feel for one another and for Ryan, their young American coach, reveals an Iraq united in a way we’ve rarely seen before.
“A stirring example of the possibilities for young Iraqis outside the country’s war zones.”
“Of the majority of images and video to be coming from Iraq…SALAAM DUNK stands aside from the pack.”
“Sometimes, it’s the simple things that we take for granted that can become the subjects of powerful films when told through the eyes of people a half a world away.”
– Film Slate Magazine
“The film captures their love for one another and for the game. It’s a purity that leads them to shoot free throws in the rain, or run layup drills at a hoop in the middle of nowhere. They don’t play for fame, scholarships, or money; they play because they can.”
2011 – LA Film Festival – World Premiere
2011 – Winner! Golden Plaque, Chicago Film Festival
2011 – DOHA Tribeca Film Festival – International Premiere
2011 – (IDFA) International Documentary Festival Amsterdam – European Premiere
2012 – Reframe International Film Festival – Canadian Premiere