PBS today announced it will air the one-hour documentary American Pharaoh, which goes behind the scenes with the Egyptian national soccer team – the “Pharaohs” – and its American coach, Bob Bradley.
Scheduled to premiere in 2014, prior to the FIFA World Cup in June in Brazil, the film by Egyptian filmmaker Hossam Aboul-Magd follows the team’s efforts to qualify for soccer’s ultimate event for the first time in more than 20 years.
In production for more than two years, with scenes still being shot, the film sets the soccer team’s challenge to succeed against the backdrop of the incredible turmoil in Egypt today.
“This is not just a film about soccer,” says Aboul-Magd. “This is about my country, my team, a coach I respect and the dream of capturing the World Cup in spite of enormous challenges. I see the goal of developing a strong team, in the middle of a revolution, as a metaphor for the rebuilding of Egypt.”
“When Hossam approached PBS with this idea, we were immediately on board,” says Bill Gardner, Senior Director, Programming, PBS. “This film not only tells a compelling story, but also provides a unique window into Egyptians’ ongoing struggle to define themselves during a time of national unrest. The journey of the Pharaohs on the road to the World Cup with the perspective of their American coach make this a truly unusual and intimate film.”
After a successful run as coach of the U.S. men’s national soccer team, reaching the second round in the 2010 World Cup, Bradley signed on to coach the Egyptian team in September 2011.
Award-winning filmmaker Hossam Aboul-Magd, an avid Egyptian soccer fan born and raised in Cairo, has made films for PBS, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, History Channel, BBC, ABC, CNN, NHK and Al- Jazeera. The film’ producer, Charles C. Stuart, is the recipient of eight Emmys and various other national awards, including Peabody and duPont awards. He has produced more than 50 hours of programming for every major U.S. network, including HBO, ESPN, Discovery, PBS and A&E.
Here’s a promo: