Without a Fight—Set in the slums of Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya, against a backdrop of bloody unrest, village youth toss aside their often warring ethnic and religious tribalism to instead battle for supremacy on the soccer pitch. As the teams compete in the local and loftily named Champions League, the film chronicles the march toward the season's championship and the backstories of some of its participants. Coaches must not only contend with political unrest and violence, but also players whose training is inhibited by such obstacles as hunger and a lack of shoes—impoverished kids occasionally have been killed trying to steal cleats. The film is both uplifting and illuminating, a look inside a place where the degree of bloodshed and poverty might seem foreign, but the healing power of team athletics is universal. (Dir. Jason Arthurs, 55 min.)
-NM, From the Independent Weekly, Full Frame Capsule Review, Highly Recommended
"The reaction from my middle school son after the screening: “That was REALLY awesome!” My youngest son recalls his favorite quote: “There are opportunities out there for you, but you have to look for those opportunities for they are not going to be handed to you on a silver platter.”
Another audience favorite with a local connection, “Without A Fight” concerns the work of the Chapel Hill-based outreach organization Carolina for Kibera, established in 2001, which sponsors youth soccer leagues in the ravaged slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Ten years in the making, the film shows how the soccer leagues have helped prevent violence in Kibera by bringing together young people across Kenya’s ethnic divides."
After the screening, the filmmakers were joined onstage by Kibera soccer coach and community organizer Kenny Juma, who plays a central part in the film. Juma said the youth leagues have helped bridge gaps not only between factions in Kibera, but also between Africa and America.
“This is a true-life story of what is happening in our community,” Juma said. “Trusting in one another is really a noble cause that can move us forward.”
-Raleigh News & Observer
“This is the true life history of what is happening in our community … unifying tribes,” said Juma at the screening. “Rallying them to a common goal is not an easy job,” he said.
-Durham Herald Sun
"The storyline was so refreshing - it showed the real lives of people and
how this soccer league made a difference, without selling it as a silver
-Dennis Whittle, President of the Whittle Group and Co-Founder of