Floodlights ﬂicker in the warm evening, throwing shadows across the ﬁeld. A camera operator pans to a group of players as they shuﬄe across the centre circle slapping hands and ﬁxing the tape on their socks. On the far side, a small crowd has gathered, swinging from side to side in raucous unison, full to the brim of hope, or fear. The action is about to begin.
Football Film Festival kicks off this October! The 1st edition of this annual showcase of the best and latest in football cinema is about to begin. The inaugural festival will highlight the exceptional films and documentaries that make our game the most enthralling spectacle in the world. Featuring stars of the game past and present, from Cantona and Cannavaro to Cahill and Cruyff, it’s time to check your fixture list, get your team together, and board the emotional roller-coaster ride of a football fan!
Featuring a complement of 24 features and shorts across 20 screenings, the festival will take place across Parramatta, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne from October 9 to November 7, 2015. Proving football truly is the world’s game, the festival will feature films in 13 different languages, representing a diverse range of football stories from Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and South America.
Our first year sees us welcomed to Riverside Theatres in Parramatta, Palace Norton Street in Leichhardt, Palace Barracks in Brisbane and The Kino Cinemas in Melbourne. Complemented by topical football forums, artist talks, a photography exhibition, Subbuteo, hacky-sack, Foosball, raffles and more, Football Film Festival is a must for fans of football culture!
Football Film Festival opens in Parramatta with the heartfelt, tragic and warm story of Coach Zoran and his African Tigers (2014) which documents the South Sudan national team as they embark on their first journey in international football, led by maverick Serbian coach Zoran Djordjevic. As South Sudan marks its 4th year as an independent nation, the screening will be one of celebration that will delight audiences, especially the Serbian and Sudanese communities in Western Sydney.
The Australian premiere of Gascoigne (2015) offers a frank, funny and solemn portrait of a player who deﬁnes highs and lows, and will open the festival in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, with insight from the likes of Jose Mourinho and Wayne Rooney.
The kids won’t go home disappointed as the wonderful family spectacle Messi (2014) screens, documenting the diminutive Argentinians journey from Rosario to Barcelona to the world. A fun narrative explores the key moments in his football development, the challenges he and his family overcame and his impact on the world game. Written by former Real Madrid coach Jorge Voldano, Messi offers unprecedented access into the life of arguably the world’s finest player.
Connoisseurs of Australian football, Leopold Method bring insightful and intelligent football analysis, history and a business perspective to the table, and will host a panel discussion of the NSL and through the ﬁrst 10 years of the A-League, Old Soccer New Football. The session will be complemented by a series of shorts from 1971-2014, including rare footage from the National Film and Sound Archives, up to Western Sydney Wanderers historic rise as Asian Champions.
After scoring goals at recent World Cup tournaments, Tim Cahill and Kyah Simon are the two highest-profile international stars in Australian football, and Football Film Festival is excited to present a special Local Heroes doubleheader, featuring the new Director’s Cut of Tim Cahill: the Unseen Journey (2013) and No Apologies (2012). Amanda Shalala (ABC News) will look back at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015, no doubt thrilling the many young Socceroos and Matildas in the audience
The festival will offer a special regional focus on Asia, in a year in which Australia successfully held the Asian Cup for the first time, and saw many fans embrace the diverse nations from the region. The World Premiere of Aussie Chuk-gu Dream (2015), a celebration of Korean-Australian diplomacy through football, will see a red-carpet gala session featuring cast and crew Q&A thanks to Asian Cup 2015 community engagement experts, Red Elephant Projects.
Iron Fans (2014) looks at the developing EPL fanaticism in China, The Other Side (2011) shows how a soccer ball can spark friendship between those on either side of the Palestinian and Israel divide, and Panyee FC (2011) tells the true story of the team who built a floating football field in Thailand. Rounding out the regional focus will be a special classic screening of Jafar Panahi’s masterpiece Offside (2006). The critically acclaimed drama follows a group of women, who in Iran are not permitted to watch football, masquerading as men to enter Tehran’s national stadium.
A series of beautiful documentaries from out of Brazil, Italy and American Samoa truly showcase the power football has to affect social change on a national or community level. Black and White Democracy (2014) explores Socrates and the Corinthians democracy movement to counter the Brazilian dictatorship of 1973. A Wonderful Season of Failure (2015) is a beautiful insight into the relationship between a football club, the entire city of Bari and an authenticity often missing from football in today’s global market. Finally, Next Goal Wins (2014) captures the journey of the American Samoa national team as they attempt to exorcise the demons of their humiliating 31-0 defeat to the Socceroos in 2006.
An exclusive event to the Brisbane leg of the festival will be the gala screening of the feature documentary Tom Meets Zizou – Not a Midsummer Night’s Dream (2011), which follows German wunderkind Thomas Broich and he battles to live up to the hopes of a nation, culminating with his transfer to the Brisbane Roar in the A-League. The screening will feature Roar players Thomas Broich and Jerome Polenz in a Football Forum discussion.
To close, we turn to Looking for Eric (2009), seeking divine intervention from the greatest player of our English Premier League era, Eric Cantona. A masterpiece of cinema from Ken Loach, the film celebrates the everyday faith we put in our heroes and the impact of Manchester United through in the 1990s.
The festivals 1st Football Shorts FC Awards Ceremony will take place on Closing Night in Sydney on October 25, with Jury President Dov Kornits (FilmInk) presenting the Best Film Award. 4 Australian and 4 International shorts have been selected from a wide pool of entrants, all vying for their share in the $2,000 prize pool. Jury members include Sarah Ward (Trespass Magazine) and Julian Buckeridge (At the Cinema).
If you love football, it’s time to secure your seat for the 1st Football Film Festival in Australia. We promise football from unique perspectives, yet something we undoubtedly identify with. Tickets range from $13 - $25, and with 3 or 5-session passes, discounts for teams and special activities throughout the Festival, the Football Film Festival is not to be missed.
The festival is thankful for the support from its major partners, Four Four Two Magazine, Leopold Method, and the Hyundai A-League. For media accreditation and press materials, please visit Press Pass.
See you all at the festival!
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