Guests of the Adelaide Film Festival enjoyed a special screening of the South Australian premiere of the new documentary The Defenders, which included a Q&A with special guests Hakeem al-Araibi, Craig Foster and Adelaide-based writer/director Matthew Bate.
The Defenders is the story of Bahrain refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi and his supporters, including Craig Foster, former Socceroos captain and human rights activist.
When Australian resident Hakeem al-Araibi stepped off the plane in Thailand in 2018 to begin his honeymoon, he found himself surrounded by police with an Interpol arrest order accusing him of terrorist activity.
What unfolds in the film is the gripping true story of an heroic whistle-blower who, after speaking out about his own torture, sets off a revenge plot involving three countries, two royal families and the world’s most powerful sporting body, FIFA. As Hakeem awaits extradition back to Bahrain where he will likely be killed, a rag-tag group of campaigners led by a retired Australian football captain turned television pundit (Foster), play out a nail-biting thriller, racing against the clock to save Hakeem’s life and the very soul of football itself.
The Defenders is available on Prime Video in Australia and New Zealand.
Photo credit: Naomi Jellicoe
Adelaide Film Festival
18 – 29 Oct 2023