Play Hungry doc on WaterBear
June 27, 2023
New documentary, Play Hungry, has launched on WaterBear, the free streaming platform dedicated to the future of the planet. The documentary follows basketball team the UP Fighting Maroons’ first championship win in 36 years after experiencing involuntary hunger.
Highlighting the complex relationship between basketball, poverty and community in the Philippines, the documentary explores how basketball isn’t just a sport, it’s akin to a religion. In fact, 81 per cent of the population claim to be basketball fans.
Across the country, basketball courts can be found everywhere, from rice paddy fields to street corners and islands. But there’s a problem: players aren’t just hungry for the win, they’re playing hungry, with 11.8 per cent of the population experiencing involuntary hunger in 2022.
The documentary follows Renan Dalisay, former alumna of the University of Philippines (UP), as he sets up Nowhere To Go But UP – a foundation that pools resources to ensure players have everything they need to succeed, after learning UP basketball students struggled to win games due to hunger.
In a staggering turn of events, viewers watch along as the foundation’s efforts propel the UP Fighting Maroons to clinch first place for the first time in 36 years in the University of Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) championship – the pinnacle of basketball mania in the country.
With the FIBA Basketball World Cup kicking off this summer in the Philippines, this uplifting story provides a timely look at the Philippines’ complicated but ultimately unifying love affair with basketball, and the inspiring local heroes working to equalise the sport and the communities around it.
By highlighting what students can accomplish when given the resources, the inspiring film aims to showcase the power of sport to lift people out of poverty and ensure no student athlete goes hungry again. Viewers are encouraged to visit Nowhere To Go But UP and donate or take action to help set up every student for success.
Poppy Mason-Watts, Chief Impact & Growth Officer of WaterBear, comments: “WaterBear was created to tell stories that matter, and there is arguably no more inspiring story to tell than Play Hungry. Succeeding at what you love shouldn’t be a privilege, but a universal opportunity. By showcasing what communities can accomplish when given the tools, the documentary aims to reframe how we look at poverty in the Philippines, drive meaningful action, and inspire everyone to take their shot at victory”.
Renan Dalisay, founder of Nowhere To Go But UP, added: “Basketball is a lot like life: sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down, but you always find a way to bounce back. There’s perhaps no better example of this resilience than the story of the UP Fighting Maroons. Their story, like so many across the Philippines, is above all one of hope, grit, and determination. That’s why I’m thrilled to work with WaterBear to bring this story to the world. Raising awareness of Nowhere to Go But UP’s mission to transform lives through sport and level the playing field for all.”