The Turkish Wrestler (United States | 2015, 5 min )

Directed by: Richard Phibbs

Since 1362 the men of Turkey have come together in the world’s oldest sport competition. Turkish Oil Wrestling began as military training for soldiers of the Ottoman Empire. Today it is Turkey’s national sport, drawing boys and men of all ages to the annual competition in Erdine. The timelessness of the competition is riveting. Nothing has changed in more than 600 years. These are modern-day gladiators, their game a metaphor for life’s struggles. All of life’s drama is here: The training to become a champion, to survive and excel. The agony of bodies, tested to their limits. The camaraderie that develops among men and sometimes transcends competition. The exhilaration of victory, the crushing defeats. The Turkish wrestler is everyman. His story is brutal and engaging, sensitive and raw, a timeless and uplifting testimony to human aspiration.