Film Screening in UAE Cinemas - Champ of the Camp

Champ of the Camp by Mahmoud Kaabour premiered at the 10th Dubai International Film Festival on 7th December 2013, at an outdoor screening in Burj Park by Burj Khalifa to an audience of more than 1200 and received a standing ovation.

It was a very special night and since then, I was wondering if this documentary would receive a theatrical release in cinemas across the UAE (and the Gulf region) so that more people can see it. 

I'm glad to say I found out Champ of the Camp will be screened in the following cinemas across the UAE starting Thursday, 30th January and hopefully will go on for many, many weeks. 

Abu Dhabi: 

National Cinema (at Najda (6th) and Zayed the First (7th) streets

Al Ain: 

Grand Bawadi 


Grand Cineples - Wafi

Grand Megaplex - Ibn Battuta

Vox Cinemas - Deira City Center


Grand Dana 


Star Cineplex 

If you are in the UAE, please find the nearest cinema, get the schedule and go see Champ of the Camp. If you live in the UAE, then you should watch it. It is a documentary that matters. 

Champ of the Camp is a feature-length creative documentary which enters the lives of the contestants in a massive Bollywood singing competition taking place each summer deep in the labor camps of Dubai. Told (and sung) entirely in the voices of the laborers, the film is the first project ever permitted to be shot in these isolated, industrial-sized living facilities for the millions of sub-continental men who come to build the dream cities of the Arab world while supporting their societies and economies back home.

With devastating candor and charming humor, these men from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh speak of their struggles and triumphs. With unique access into all facets of their day-to-day life, we explore the passion for music in a life of manual labor and the special power of Bollywood song to make a hero of each man.

Here's my review of the film, which I included  in my Dubai International Film Festival review last month.

Champ of the Camp is a documentary set in Dubai, which follows the lives of contestants in an annual Bollywood style singing competition which takes place in the labor camps of Dubai and across the UAE, told and sung entirely in the voices of the migrant laborers who built this city.

It’s a heartfelt documentary and features some great Bollywood classics and heartbreaking songs. You can feel the sense of longing to be back home, to be with families and loved one as these workers live on the margins of society in this country where they are hardly made to feel comfortable or welcome outside the work and living environment.

I did find the documentary slightly restrained from making any judgements or statements on the living/working conditions of these migrant labors (which is often written about and critiqued in the press outside this region). Whether this was deliberate or not, I do think it is a good story that needed to be shared with a wider audience and a laudable effort by Mahmoud Kaabour.