Heavy Metal

The girls of Champ Camp are in some ways typical teenagers — eager to challenge the old ways and looking to make their mark, pursue their purpose. But Adla, Rahmeeh and We'am– Palestinians growing up in Jordan’s Al-Baqa’a refugee camp– can also lift as much as 70 KG and are aiming for medals in international weightlifting competitions. Maybe even the Olympics!

To book their ticket, the young women must succeed on stage in front of their loved ones in the heart of a refugee camp. The pressure of the competition leads to tears and triumph as the team dazzles the crowd with their formidable strength.

What does it mean to be a strong young Palestinian woman?

Heavy Metal is part of Sports Explains the World, a series from Meadowlark Media. Each film in the series provides intimate, character-driven stories rooted in sports that deliver larger messages about humanity and the pivotal times we live in.

  • Edward Knowles
    Pure Euphoria
  • Timo Bruun
    Pure Euphoria
  • Hind Shoufani
    The Present, We Take Back Mountains, Trip Along Exodus
  • John Skipper
    Executive Producer
    ESPN:30 for 30, DAZN
  • Stanley Nelson
    Executive Producer
    Attica, Miles Davis, The Black Panthers
  • Smriti Keshari
    Executive Producer
    The Bomb, Food Chains
  • Gary Hoenig
    Executive Producer
    The Players' Tribune, ESPN Magazine
  • Adla Hassouneh
    Key Cast
  • Weam Qandeel
    Key Cast
  • Rahima Hijazi
    Key Cast
  • Bayan Qandeel
    Key Cast
  • Waleed Abu-Nada
    Key Cast
  • Ali AlGabri
    Key Cast
  • Rama Hijazi
    Key Cast
  • Hind Shoufani
    Story Consultant
  • Edward Knowles
  • Timo Bruun
    Director of Photography
  • Tobias Abt
    Director of Photography
  • Tarek Abu Ghoush
    Boom Operator
  • Philipp Hartinger
  • Omar Jodallah
    Camera Operator
  • Jakob Skott
    Camera Operator
  • Helene Gröpper
    Assistant Producer
  • Mohammed Al-Rawdhi
  • Zlaya Loud
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    31 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 27, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    100,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Tribeca Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    June 11, 2023
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Edward Knowles, Timo Bruun

Ed has worked for the past 15 years as a sports journalist - travelling the world covering over 100 international stories. Highlights include the Olympics in South Korea, the World Cup in Brazil, Real Madrid in Morocco, and Barcelona in Georgia.
He met co-director Timo Bruun at the boxing world championships in 2017 and it was immediately clear that they shared a passion for telling overlooked stories from the sporting world.
HEAVY METAL is their latest project that is produced by BAFTA-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Hind Shoufani. Its esteemed list of Executive Producers are John Skipper, Stanley Nelson, Gary Hoenig, and Smriti Keshari.
TIMO is a award-winning self-taught director from Hamburg. He started as a cameraman at his local TV station and has gone on to cover some of the biggest sporting events on the planet.
Three Olympic Games, three FIFA World Cups, and two UEFA European Championships are just some of the highlights from his 20 years in the business.
He’s inspired by the unobvious and is excited to tell stories in challenging arenas.
‘Pure Euphoria’ was their debut film and start of a collaboration between him and co-director Ed Knowles. The message of that film correlates with their mindset - you can do anything you want, you just have to put in the effort.

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Director Statement

We were met with kindness and hospitality across our time in Al Baqa’a refugee camp. The unexpected rain on the competition day looked threatening but the improvised solutions held up fine. The refugee camp needs more resources and its people require better opportunities. But our production went smoothly and we couldn’t be more grateful to everyone we met during the shoot.

The film was edited by Phillipp and Timo in Hamburg with input from US-based story consultant and producer Hind Shoufani. Co-director Ed lives in Liverpool and joined the edit room remotely too. It's a true international production.