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LION ON THE MAT
(16 min) US
watch trailer

FRIDAY 10/22, 7:00 PM (SESSION 3)

Director/Producer: Asali Echols

Description:

Lion on the Mat is a short documentary following Mai Nguyen as she trains for a Jiu Jitsu match. We witness how she mentally and physically prepares, balancing the demands of regular life — job, being a single mother — with training. As we gradually learn more about her past, we understand her commitment to martial arts as a way to recover from the trauma of her abusive childhood and ex-husband. The film is a story of resilience, strength, and finding solace in unexpected places. The project began when I met Mai at a Fourth of July party in 2018. I was moved by her honesty and openness, and her deep commitment to martial arts. We became running partners, and as we built up miles together, I began to see the incredible strength with which she approaches every aspect of her life. I am honored and humbled to have become Mai’s friend, and that she allowed me to help tell her story through film.

Biography:

Asali Echols is a Bay Area filmmaker and film editor, whose work has screened in festivals across the country and worldwide. Her directing credits include the narrative short Fast & New, the animated documentary The Violin Upstairs and the award-winning short documentary Lion on the Mat. She enjoys finding visual intersections between narrative, documentary and animation, and telling stories about people who step outside boxes. In addition to the practice of filmmaking, Asali is a dedicated cinema educator. She has taught undergraduate film production at San Francisco State University, and developed numerous summer filmmaking workshops for youth.

Contact Information:

w: https://asa.li/lion-on-the-mat
e: ​​asalirechols@gmail.com



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