Diamond in the Dunes (2009)
Director: Christopher Rufo
Language: Uighur | Mandarin
Release Date: 10 August 2014 (USA)
Production Co: Documentary Foundation
The true story of hope and baseball in China’s Xinjiang Province — a region harshly divided between an indigenous Muslim minority and the ruling Han Chinese. Diamond in the Dunes follows 20-year-old Uyghur shepherd Parhat Ablat, who attends the region’s racially segregated Xinjiang University.
Parhat is on a fraught quest to raise his people out of what he calls their “spirit sickness.” While at the helm of the university’s first mixed-race baseball team, he also starts a program at a minority elementary school. After a year of practice in the shadow of tense ethnic relations, Parhat and the university team travel 2,000 miles for their only game of the season — against a team of Tibetans on the Qinghai Plateau. Baseball is more than a game; it’s a vehicle for spiritual transformation.