The Right to Race
Marking its world premiere at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Swiss sportswear brand On has launched The Right To Race, a powerful original documentary recounting Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu’s remarkable journey from a stateless refugee to become an elite athlete. Released on World Refugee Day, the film also raises wider questions about the importance of identity, representation and belonging, by celebrating and highlighting humanity’s untapped potential.
What does it mean to have an identity - not just as an athlete but as a human? That’s the question that has propelled refugee and long distance runner Lobalu from a war-torn region in South Sudan to the snow-filled slopes of Switzerland - where he is fighting for the right to race and represent his new country on the world stage.
Written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Richard Bullock in association with Hungry Man Productions, the new film deploys archive footage compiled from as early as 2017 to tell the story of Lobalu’s quest to represent Switzerland at the World Athletics Championships, where - despite being an elite competitor challenging the world’s best - he is currently excluded from official Refugee teams and has to wait up to 10 years before being eligible for citizenship in Switzerland.
The 30-minute film centres around the special relationship forged between Dominic and his Swiss coach, Markus Hagmann—a relationship born from a shared love of running. Lobalu's struggle to be recognized by World Athletics as an international contender representing his home country takes centre stage as negotiations continue with the sport's governing body.
Never letting up the pace, the film deftly captures the disappointment, determination and incredible physical prowess of an athlete who is at the top of his game - yet unable to compete. More than this, it challenges us to reconsider notions of national identity and belonging - powerful issues which were given a human face at the film’s premiere at Cannes Lions, personally attended by Bullock, Hagmann and Lobalu himself.
The Right to Race is Bullock’s third collaboration with On, having written and directed the brand’s previous short films including RUN: The Athlete Refugee Team Story and the award-winning animated production Black Ice. A writer/director whose longform films have run on the National Geographic Channel, Eurosport and the BBC, Bullock built up an award-winning legacy in advertising before focusing on directing full time. He was a former Executive Creative Director at 180 Amsterdam and worked with leading agencies such as Chiat/Day/Mojo, Hunt Lascaris TBWA, Cliff Freeman & Partners and Lowe Howard Spink.
This professional campaign titled 'The Right to Race' was published in Switzerland in June, 2023. It was created for the brand: On, . This Film medium campaign is related to the Sports industry and contains 3 media assets. It was submitted 3 months ago.
Written and directed by
Director of Photography
Feliciano Robayna (client, On)
Gessica Giulini (client, On)
Executive Post Producer
Post Production Supervisor
Music and Sound
Re Recording Mixer
Machines of Loving Grace
Jessica Hartley For the RIght Reasons
Official Diamond League Competition Images
Courtesy of IMG
Dominic Lokinyomo Lobalu
Jackie Brock- Doyle
With thanks to
The Hagmann Family
Jackli and Seitz