Two Filmmakers Are Scoring With Films About Soccer
As reported on by contributing blogger Benjamín Harguindey at St. Themo Films in Argentina, Álex de la Iglesia’s biopic of Argentine footballer Lionel
Messi will receive an official screening on July 2 in Río de Janeiro, right in the middle of the FIFA World Cup’s “round of sixteen”. Argentina is playing
against Switzerland the day before for a spot in the World Cup’s quarter-finals, so it remains to be seen whether the movie will act as a beaming
celebration or a conciliatory send-off for Argentina’s national team, which Messi captains.
The “docufiction”, simply titled “Messi”, is directed by Spanish filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia, best known as the creator of cult films like “The Day of the
Beast” (1995) and “Ferpect Crime” ( 2004), and more recently “Witching and Bitching” (2013). Spanish production studio Mediapro is behind the movie.
Judging from the trailer, it looks like the director’s outrageous style has been dropped in favor of a more serious tone. De la Iglesia traveled earlier in
January to Messi’s hometown Rosario, where he shot at Messi’s former home, his primary school and the Newell’s Old Boys Stadium where he
used to play.
The movie, written by coach Jorge Valdano, is equal parts documentary – interviewing footballers like Javier Mascherano and Gerard Piqué, and national team
coach Alejandro Sabella – and dramatization, specifically of Messi’s childhood and road to fame and glory. Spanish child actor Marc Balaguer will play
young Messi. Besides the World Cup premiere no commercial release dates have been given for Spain or Argentina, but in the meantime here’s the trailer –
but first read the original article here: http://ow.ly/yxaTL
Meanwhile, the second film, still to be made, will be produced by Dan Mirvisch of Bugeater Films (Mirvish is also co-founder of the Slamdance Film
Festival) who has optioned the project to be written and directed by Darryl Wharton-Rigby.
Their scoop on this hot topic shows how some nimble indie filmmakers can move quicker than anyone in Hollywood. While Hollywood shut down yesterday morning
to celebrate USA’s 0-1 loss as a win, it was a couple indie filmmakers who saw the real story in the World Cup and outmaneuvered Hollywood to the punch.
One other thing they missed is what a truly global project this is, spanning four continents (so far): S. America, Africa obviously, but with producers in
the U.S., and an African/American director/writer in Japan.
Darryl Wharton-Rigby writes for Indiewire blog Shadow & Act sometimes, and used to be a programmer for the Maryland Film Fest. Wharton-Rigby
(“Homicide: Life on the Streets”), is also an award-winning writer who most recently wrote and directed the indie movie “Stay,” which was filmed in Japan.
Read the full story on The Wrap.
Suffice it here to state that the debacle of Ghana’s Black Stars boycotting practice unless their promised bonus was paid inspired the soccer-themed
Ghana’s government sent more than $3m in cash by plane to Brazil to pay the appearance fees owed to the national team at the World Cup. Deputy Sports
Minister Joseph Yamin told Ghanaian radio station Citi FM the players "insisted" on cash payments.
He added: "The government had to mobilize the money and a chartered flight to Brazil."
Wharton-Rigby’s script will follow a courier who flies into Brazil with $3 million cash. Things go awry when the courier is ambushed on the way to make the
drop, leaving him less than 12 hours to recover the stolen money.
Ghana’s Black Stars have now gone home from Brazil, having lost 2-1 to U.S. and then tied 2-2 with Germany. But losing 2-1 against Portugal eliminated them
from the games.
Another bonus row is ongoing involving Nigeria. The Super Eagles, who are due to play France Monday June refused to train on Thursday over fears they would
not receive their bonus payments from the Nigerian Football Federation.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan assured players on Friday that the money would be paid.
There was a similar issue with Cameroon, whose players refused to board their plane to South America because of a row over appearance fees. They arrived
for the World Cup a day later than scheduled.
The issue is not a new one – Togo went on strike over bonus money at the 2006 tournament in Germany and FIFA was forced to intervene.
Jérôme Valcke, Secretary General of the international football federation (FIFA)
says that something needs to be done.
"Future World Cups will ask the national associations to provide us with their agreements with their players to make sure that this kind of episode does
not happen again," he said.
Valcke himself was found guilty in 2004 by a New York court when he was Marketing Director of FIFA for negotiating sponsor agreements with the rival VISA,
despite the existing agreement of FIFA conducted with the long-time partner Mastercard and thus violated the right of first negotiation of MasterCard.
Because of this, the FIFA was fined US $60 million.
But all this is another story, yet to be made into a movie.