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BOXEADORA - Documentary on Women Boxing in Cuba


BOXEADORA documentary director Meg Smaker shares her film with trailer and clips highlighting the story of Cuban woman boxer, Namibia, and her struggle to get recognition in the ring, in a country that has somehow banned the sport for women. The strange politics of pugilism in Cuba, and the dynamic journey that culminated in the film which was a sensation at SXSW and other film festivals is all explored in this BYOD, hosted by Ondi Timoner.

Since Castro's Revolution, Cuba has won more Olympic gold medals in boxing than any other country in the world. Although this boxing powerhouse has more than 19,000 male boxers, female boxing is nonexistent on the island – the result of a ban on female boxing put into place after the revolution. Boxeadora follows Namibia, a Cuban woman who has been training in secret as a boxer for five years, hoping the government would lift its ban. Now 38, she only has two years left of boxing eligibility. Journey with Namibia as she tries to leave the island to follow her only dream: to compete as a boxer.

Meg Smaker, a documentary filmmaker, is also a competitive boxer. In late 2013, she traveled to Cuba to train as a boxer for an upcoming fight. Shortly after arriving in Havana, she discovered women were banned from the sport. This was a surprise, as Cuba has a rich sports culture and is a Communist country that preaches equality. Eventually Meg found a fight gym that would train her; there she met Namibia, the only female boxer in Cuba. Inspired by Namibia's story, Meg made the documentary Boxeadora for her thesis film after returning to the U.S. to finish her graduate degree in documentary film at Stanford University.
Meg's documentary subjects read like a "who's who" of the underworld: Somali pirates, BDSM porn stars, crystal meth kingpins, underground fighters in Cuba, and high-end call girls. She likes to explore controversial issues from an unorthodox viewpoint. Her documentaries have won numerous awards on the film festival circuit including multiple awards for Best Documentary.


00:01 Welcoming Meg Smaker of BOXEADORA to BYOD.
00:40 BOXEADORA wins Grand Jury prize for Best Short at SXSW.
01:50 Discussing how Meg got involved in making this film about boxing.
02:45 Why Cuba?
04:30 BOXEADORA, Clip: Namibia training in Cuba to make it to the olympics.
06:05 What drew Meg to boxing?
08:00 What did Meg experience in Cuba?
11:15 BOXEADORA, Clip: Namibia visiting her mother's house
13:15 Why was Namibia denied a VISA by the Cuban government?
14:00 Photography in the film, shooting on the 5D
14:15 Namibia partying - how does this impact the audience's view of her?
17:00 Flying from Cuba to SXSW
18:50 At SXSW, Namibia got her VISA because of it, turning into feature.
19:30 What it was like for Namibiya at SXSW?
19:55 Wrapping up, See Meg at the Ashland FF, Sarasota FF.
21:19 Namibia's Olympic prospects.
22:50 Meg's new project, Generation Bling.
23:45 Thank you and Goodbye.
24:03 BOXEADORA, Trailer.