Arts / ‘Important’ doco needs Canberra’s help

Bianca Emir

AN important new documentary with a Canberra angle is due to screen at Palace Electric soon – but it needs to sell more tickets by Thursday (August 9) to go ahead.

“Bam Bam”, by director Jemma van Loenen, takes a look at Australian Flyweight champion, Bianca “Bam Bam” Elmir, who wants to become the first Australian to win a World Amateur Boxing Championship.

Elmir, a feisty former ANU student and Lebanese Muslim, confronts stereotypes in a bio-pic that proves a surprising exploration of the many facets of her life – her boxing, her identity, her family, her religion and her journey towards empowerment through a series of wins and losses in the boxing ring.

Van Loenen first read about her in a newspaper article when Emir was coaching women in boxing but the film took four years to complete. In the end “Bam Bam”, explores faith, identity, gender and resilience against the backdrop of a world scale international sporting event.

Emir’s contrarian personality emerges as she sometimes retreats into herself and at other times comes out fighting, famously when she marched in the 2016 Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

“CityNews” caught up with Elmir recently when she was a guest on 2CC’s Sunday Roast. Her larger-than-life, individualistic personality was striking, standing opposite almost everything people have ever heard about subservient Muslim women.

Canberra bred, Elmir and her mother Diana Abdul-Rahmen, are both well known in the public sphere. Abdul-Rahmen is another forcible personality, who interceded to bring her daughter back from Lebanon to Australia when she was young. The mother-daughter estrangement, now behind them, is part of the movie’s trajectory.

Emir said that the film had partnered with the cinema-on-demand initiative, Fan Force, meaning that once a minimum number of tickets is sold by the “tipping point” date of Thursday, August 9, the screening will be confirmed to go ahead.

People will not be billed for tickets until this point has been reached but it is important to book tickets before that date, otherwise the screening will be cancelled.

“Bam Bam” at Palace Electric Cinemas, New Acton, 11am, on Sunday, August 19. Bookings to







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