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Glory in defeat: how Japan fell in love with a racehorse who couldn’t win

In 2003, spirits were low in the remote, seaside city of Kochi, Japan, which had been hit particularly hard by a nationwide, decade-long economic downturn. The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere tells the story of the tenacious but winless Kochi-based racehorse Haru Urara (meaning ‘glorious spring’) who became a peculiar ray of hope in Japan during a period in which few people felt as if they were winning. Despite never finishing first in over 100 career races, the lovable, Hello Kitty hood-wearing horse still managed to save her local racetrack, inspire a struggling city and become a national symbol for trying your hardest in the face of adversity and defeat. A heartening underdog story splendidly told, this short documentary by the US-based director Mickey Duzyj was a film festival favourite in 2016, screening at the Sundance Film Festival, the SXSW Film Festival and the Hot Docs Festival, where it won Best Short Documentary.

Director: Mickey Duzyj

Producers: Mona Panchal, Yuka Uchida

Website: The All-Nighter Room

18 August 2016

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