Story of Turkish champion on screen
KARDZHALI – Anadolu Agency
The shooting of a film, titled “Pocket Hercules: Naim Süleymanoğlu,” featuring the life of Turkish Olympic champion weightlifter Naim Süleymanoğlu, who died in November 2018 at the age of 50 due to liver failure, continues in Bulgaria.
At a press conference, producer Mustafa Uslu said that Süleymanoğlu had a life full of miracles since his childhood, adding, “In this film, we set out by taking the rights of his brother Muharrem Süleymanoğlu’s childhood memories, ‘My Brother Pocket Hercules.’ Nobody could have told us about Naim Süleymanoğlu’s childhood, except Muharrem Süleymanoğlu.”
The Bulgarian-born Süleymanoğlu, known as “pocket Hercules,” who was only 1.47 meters tall, scored a historic hat-trick of consecutive Olympic titles starting in Seoul in 1988 then Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996.
His exploits made him a national hero in Turkey, where he is regarded as one of the greatest sports personalities in the country’s history.
Director Özer Feyzioğlu said that shooting the film in Bulgaria is very important, adding, “We are very emotional since we came here. At the age of 19, Süleymanoğlu made a decision by risking his life and used sports to draw attention to human rights violations. This sacrifice affects us all. I think dying aged 50 is not a decision, it is almost the natural result of a consciously preferred journey. We have a heavy responsibility. We tell the story of self-sacrifice, not any life.”
The film, written by Barış Pirhasan, is starring Hayat Van Eck, Yetkin Dikinciler, Gürkan Uygun, Selen Öztürk, Levent Ülgen, Renan Bilek, Barış Kıralioğlu, Bülent Alkış, Kemal Başar, Maria Rumenova Sotirova, Mehmet Esen, Evren Erler, Mustafa Kırantepe, Ugur Güneş and İsmail Hacıoğlu. The film will be released on Oct. 25.