Ghulam is shackled in chains. Sajawal is confined, alone, in a freestanding room. Sana is tied up in her house. Life is bleak for these three teenagers living in rural Pakistan until their families are introduced to Special Olympics.
Intimate and unflinching, hopeful and tragic, the new documentary film titled As Far As They Can Run follows the lives of Ghulam, Sajawal and Sana over the course of a year to see. Will participating in a Special Olympics Pakistan athletic program help them become accepted, and even valued, by their families and communities?
As Far As They Can Run is an MTV Documentary Films production that is now streaming on Paramount+ (currently only available to Paramount+ subscribers in the United States). It was directed by Iranian-American filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian and produced by Christoph Jörg. Executive producers include Special Olympics Board Chair Tim Shriver and CEO Mary Davis along with Special Olympics Board Member Bobby Shriver. The film is already gaining attention on the festival circuit having won the Woodstock Film Festival 2022 award for best short documentary.
Eshaghian says interacting with the teens, families and coaches while the directing this film will forever have a special place in her heart. “Rural and impoverished Pakistani life is for most viewers extremely foreign, but the film bridges that gap quietly bringing out the commonality we have with families who are struggling to do their best in a world without safety nets. The pain, the challenge, the small moments of connection, hope, and love.”