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Marathon Boy

World Documentary Competition

North American Premiere

USA, U.K., India | 98 MINUTES | Oriya, Hindi, English |


Female Director(s), Sports, Documentary

Gemma Atwal's dynamic epic follows four-year-old Budhia, rescued from poverty by Biranchi Das, a larger-than-life judo coach and operator of an orphanage for slum children in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. When Budhia displays an uncommon talent for long-distance running, Biranchi nurtures his gift, heralding him as a folk hero for the impoverished masses, and maybe even for India itself. But after golden child Budhia breaks down during a world-record 65 kilometer run at the age of four, public opinion begins to turn on the guru and his disciple, and soon the two are swept up in a maelstrom of media controversy and political scandal.

Following Budhia's roller-coaster journey over five years, Marathon Boy is a Dickensian tale of greed, corruption, and broken dreams set between the heart-racing world of marathon running, the poverty-stricken slums, and the political intrigue of a modernizing India. Nothing is what it seems in Budhia and Biranchi's riveting story, and Atwal continually shifts viewer identification to tell both a shocking story of opportunism and exploitation, but also a touching portrait of an authentic bond between a parent and child.


Directed by Gemma Atwal and Gemma Atwal

GEMMA ATWAL worked as a freelance director and producer on a variety of UK television documentaries. She spent three years working as a development producer for independent UK production houses. She has also worked as a business journalist for the Madrid-based NOA Media Group in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Europe.
Gemma Atwal
Ben Foley
Primary Cast
Budhia Singh, Biranchi Das
Peter Haddon
Gemma Atwal, Matt Norman
Garry Hughes
Executive Producer
Alan Hayling, Sheila Nevins


Matt Norman
One Horse Town Productions
Bristol, Avon BS6 7QQ
Phone: +44 7976 (0) 247652
Press Contact
Sheri Goldberg
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212 334 0333
Sales Contact
Patrick Roberts
London, W1F 0BJPhone: +44 207 494 5814