Shamed Muslim boxer, Bianca ‘Bam Bam’ Elmir, aims to be the first Australian to win a World Amateur Boxing Championship. This clip is the second in a series of clips about BAM BAM. The first clip is here
Interview with Director Jemma van Loenen.
Can you tell us a little bit about this clip?
We filmed this at an impromptu family gathering at Bianca’s aunty’s house in Sydney, where Bianca’s grandmother is also living. I thought it would be great to ask her grandmother about Bianca’s early life and who she is, and I wanted the interactions of the two of them together as her grandmother reflected on who Bianca is, so I asked them both to participate in the interview together.
I thought this moment was so lovely - that it shows a strong connection between them and love and respect. And that Bianca’s grandmother is also a very spirited woman. I guess it’s a bit of a window into where Bianca comes from.
Bianca Elmir (BAM BAM) comes from four generations of strong, Muslim women. How has this influenced her outlook and ambition?
This is only my opinion as an outsider looking in, but I think this history has been both Bianca’s strength and her Achilles Heel. I think that it has made her the determined woman that she is, but it has also been the reason for her walking out on her own and pursuing her goals her way, regardless of what family or friends might say. I think that that legacy has partially pushed her away from her family, but it is also the quality that has helped her achieve who she is today.
And part of her journey has been about realising that and coming to a point of appreciating the qualities that family have given her, and coming full circle so to speak. Four generations of strong women can be a source of angst, it can also be the mettle that makes you who you are.
And I think that’s true for Bianca and her family, from what I have observed, and Bianca’s journey has been one of integrating those sometimes contradicting elements in her life, and being able to hold them together in tension, regardless. And that process has made her a better person.
Can you update us on what’s been happening with Bianca since we last spoke to you?
Bianca is going to the Women’s World Amateur Boxing Championships next month to represent Australia in the 54kg division. She won her qualifying events in Perth in March with unanimous decisions, beating the 54kg national champion. She is heading to the Philippines this week for a training camp with the Australian team. She is in an extremely strong position to do well at the world championships, having come up against and beaten some of her competitors at international comps in the past. We are feeling very confident about her chances.
What will you be filming in the coming months?
We will be going to the world championships with Bianca next month, in Kazakhstan. That’s our main focus at the moment! But when we get back to Australia there are a couple of other story lines that we need to tie up with some extra filming. So we’ve got a little bit still to go in the production phase.
Interview: April 2016
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Current status: In production
Director: Jemma van Loenen
About me: I’m a Melbourne filmmaker. I love to tell stories that inspire and resonate with our dreams, and that connect us with who we are.