To be a Paralympian, there’s got to be something wrong with you. This is the premise of this year’s Channel 4 Tokyo 2020 Paralympic campaign, which serves as a more gritty look at the trials and tribulations of competing at the Games for these ‘Super. Humans’.
“We spotted an opportunity to present Paralympians in a way they hadn’t been shown before – by pointing a camera at the realities of their lives and, as with any elite athlete, the sacrifices they make in pursuit of greatness,” explains Lynsey Atkin, 4Creative’s exec creative director, on capturing the blood, sweat, sacrifices and dedication it takes.
“Whether that’s defying medical advice, missing children’s birthdays, anxiety, repetition, getting endless blisters – collectively these choices paint a story of mental determination, not of disability.”
Set to a freshly-recorded version of Bugsy Malone’s So You Want to Be a Boxer? by Jay Prince, the film candidly shows various British Paralympians preparing for Tokyo, including Ali Jawad, David Smith, Ellie Simmonds, Jody Cundy, Jordanne Whiley, Kadeena Cox and Kylie Grimes.
Bradford Young, the Oscar-nominated cinematographer who made ‘Super. Human’, claims it wasn’t the super element that spoke to him but the human stories. “It’s what makes us vulnerable, but stronger too. But where we differ is where this film comes alive – the standards to which a Paralympian holds themselves to, a ruthless, grinding obsessiveness, a tunnel vision we wouldn’t dare enter.”