Film: Sanna Allsopp’s “Built to Last,” a Documentary on Caribbean Athletes

Sanna Allsopp’s documentary Built to Last (2012) offers a behind the scenes look at Caribbean athletes that have trained so hard on their journey to the 2012 London Summer Olympics. The first official showing of the film took place yesterday, August 3, at the British Film Institute. Screening around the Caribbean will begin in September. The Antigua Observer reports:

Produced by Barbadian production company Studio Caribe, the film shares the success stories of men and women of the Caribbean who are competing in various Olympic, Paralympic, and non-Olympic sports. The film was screened ahead of the highly anticipated track sprints scheduled to take place this weekend. It was commissioned by the Caribbean Export Development Agency as part of the London Engage Initiative to help take Caribbean excellence to the world.

British-Barbadian director Sanna Allsopp took a regional approach to the documentary, sharing perspectives from across the Spanish, French, and English speaking Caribbean. The director said she was particularly moved by the athletes she interviewed from Haiti. “It is such a beautiful place with so much potential,” she said.

“Built to Last” recounts the stories of how Caribbean athletes have progressed to become household names in the field of athletics, boxing, football, martial arts, swimming, and cycling from countries such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica, Grenada, and Trinidad & Tobago.

The documentary was an attempt to answer the question, “What is it about this region that produces so many incredible sportsmen and women?” “For me, the shoot was a life-changing experience. We travelled to eight countries in a month, and we met the most incredible people. The Caribbean’s will to succeed despite the odds was very much evident,” Allsopp said.

The film featured interviews with musician Wyclef Jean and Professor George Lamming. Among the athletes showcased in the film were Asafa Powell, Shelly-Ann Fraser, Yohan Blake, Jehue Gordon, and Pamela Coke-Hamilton of the Caribbean Export Development Agency.

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