Victory Swim, You Can't Stop Us

Sara Dunlop

Rattling Stick

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The Middle East’s instalment of Nike’s ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ campaign features an inspirational film led by athlete voices and the infinite possibilities of water sports. The intention of the campaign was to not only set out to inspire women all across the Middle East to discover all the wonderful freedom and power that waits for them in the water, but also to know that when they do swim, they’re not alone. In fact, they’re there together with all the other female swimmers across the continent. With a focus on community and togetherness, the campaign film celebrates the victory of a young girl learning how to swim for the first time. Not only is her mother there in the water teaching her, she’s joined by other women across the Middle East. Each and every one of them pushing her further, swimming, surfing, and rowing together with her, like a team in a relay race of continental proportions. Alongside the film, in retail, Nike celebrated the unstoppable spirit that forms when women come together in the water through dynamic in-store displays. While in Dubai, the brand sponsored a swimming pool throughout November 2020 – making it available only for women and working with coaches to run a series of workshops and events. The film features the iconic Nike Victory Swim collection, which brings performance innovation to modest swimwear.

After graduating in Film from the University of Westminster, Sara was soon named one of the Top 25 Directors to Watch by Creativity Magazine, chalking up an impressive list of award-winning commercials and music videos. Multiple awards include LIA, British Arrows, D&AD, Creative Circle, Cannes Lion and A-list Hollywood craft. More recently, she has turned her attention to longer form projects; primarily short films and more content driven work, which have been equally well received. The three films she co-wrote and directed for Burberry and GQ – The Night Before series (starring Sophie Turner, Clara Paget and Josephine de La Baume) – were featured in the Hollywood Report, Hype Beast and The Huffington Post and shortlisted at the Shots awards. Other award-winning films include short films for clients such as The Big Issue, the humanitarian organisation Plan International, shoe designer Jonathan Kelsey, featuring Joana Preiss (Raw, Paris Je t’aime). Her film for The Havens Rape Crisis Centre, ‘Where’s Your Line?’ could be considered prescient, particularly in view of the current #metoo conversation about consent. It went on to pick up several awards at the British Arrows Craft Awards including Best Director, and a Best Actress award for a Debut Performance by Stacy Martin (Nymphomania, High Rise and upcoming adaptation of The Bell Jar). Her most recent short, Dreamlands, was selected at over 15 major film festivals and was the only UK short film to be ‘In Competition’ at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, selected out of 5008 films globally entered. Peter Bradshaw described it as a ‘film with real energy and style and a great debut performance from Emma Appleton’. The film also won ‘Best Narrative Short’ at the 2016 Brooklyn Film Festival and recently played at the BFI London Film Festival.