India's first soccer film fest in Goa

RUPESH SAMANT (PTI), PANAJI | 17 November 2011 23:49 IST

A football stadium in the Goan capital that fell into ruins almost a decade ago will come back to life with a soccer films festival, the first ever in the country.

The Campal Football Grounds will stage the ‘Soccer in Cinema’ section as part of the 42nd International Film Festival of India (IFFI), beginning on November 23. The football films section, which will be exclusively for the public, will open on November 24.

The opening film of the football package will be the South Korean entry, ‘A Barefoot Dream’, the real life story of South Korean coach Kim Sin-Hwan, known as East Timor’s Guus Hiddink. Hiddink is a former Dutch and Chelsea coach. The film was South Korea’s entry for the Best Foreign Language film at the Oscar awards this year.

This section of the festival would be inaugurated on November 24. Indian football team captain Baichung Bhutia will be present at the football films opening.

The football ground, which is currently in ruins, was formerly named after first Goa Chief Minister Dayanand Bandodkar. The state authorities now are aiming to rebuilt this stadium located on the Mandovi river.

The seven-day football films festival will screen seven films, one each day. There are films from Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Italy, France and South Africa, which hosted the World Cup last year. Brazil is the host of the next World Cup in 2014.

“The football films section of IFFI is aimed at connecting with the people of Goa, who are famous for their love for football,” says Faizal Khan, a Delhi-based journalist, who has curated the package with Mumbai-based artist Riyas Komu.

The entry from Brazil is ‘Mario Filho: The Creator of Crowds’, a documentary film directed by Oscar Maron. The film tells the story of football in Brazil through the eyes of Mario Filho, a sports journalist who first wrote about football in Brazil. The famous Maracana stadium in Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro is named after Mario Filho. The film’s director Oscar Maron will present the film in the presence of its producer Luis Henrique Severiano Ribeiro, the owner of a multiplex chain in Brazil.

‘Argentina Futbol Club’, a documentary about the rivalry between two of Argentina’s top clubs, River Plate and Boca Juniors, will also be screened during the festival. Its director Juan Pablo Roubio will be a guest at the festival. Italian feature film ‘Foot of God’, about corruption in Italian football, is a highlight at the festival.

South Africa is represented by ‘More Than Just a Game’ by Junaid Ahmed, a documentary about how football helped the prisoners of Robben Island stay alive during the apartheid regime.

The entry from France is an experimental film, ‘Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait’, directed by Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno. The film depicts the persona of French football great Zinedine Zidane through a 90-minute match between Spanish clubs Real Madrid and Villareal.

Germany, which hosted the women’s football world cup this year, will be represented by a documentary, ‘The Best Women in the World’, which is about the German team winning the 2007 women’s football world cup.

“The section is a tribute to the football fans of Goa. We hope the films with its inspiring stories will motivate the younger generation of Goans further to show their talent in the beautiful game at the national and international level,” says Faizal Khan, who was a fan himself at the World Cup in South Africa last year.

IFFI will also organize an Open Forum session devoted to the football films package. The festival would be held in Goa from November 23 to December 3.

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