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‘Football – A Beautiful Life’, featuring the best of football films from around the world will be held from November 22 at Children’s Park, Panaji. This festival is presented by Serendipity Arts Festival 2018 and is a collateral event of IFFI 2018. NT BUZZ catches up with the curator Jan Tilman Schwab


It is a well known fact that Goans are football crazy. And with IFFI 2018 on in full swing, what better way to connect to the locals then by combining football and cinema! With this very idea in mind, and as a lead up to the main event, the Serendipity Arts Festival 2018 is organising ‘Football – A Beautiful Life’, showcasing a range of feature films, short films and documentaries in more than 6 languages themed around football.

The line up has been curated by Jan Tilman Schwab, a film historian, publicist and journalist, editor, lecturer and educator. Schwab specialises in different aspects of football and film culture and has penned the book ‘Fußball im Film – Lexikon des Fußball films’ (Football in Films – Lexicon of Football Films) in 2006. He also curates and advices various football film festivals.

“Football is a good tool to educate and children in particular can learn a lot by playing football be it in adapting to rules, organising themselves as a team and finding the team spirit,” says Schwab. “Documentary film in particular can also educate about the history of the place, the culture, and the football history.”

At the same time, Schwab says they can also help film students in particular learn more about cinema. In the line up, is also a film on football in India titled ‘Sudani from Nigeria’ directed by Zakariya Edayur and is also in the Panorama section. “When I heard about this film which shows the football passion  in Kerala it immediately became an option for me for this festival. Cycle Kick is another film, which I did consider,” revealed Schwab.

He further added that while there are older films about football from India, where the protagonist is a footballer, the problems he faces are not football related. Hence these were not considered.

Having previously visited Goa in 2011 where we put together a package of football films for the 42nd IFFI, Schwab reveals that he did get a chance to witness football in Goa then. “I got to see the Indian national team playing against Zambia here in Goa and I loved the passion among the spectators,” he recalls. “I also got to see the Churchill Brothers playing in Trivandrum. In fact one of the players gave me his shorts after the match. I of course washed it and then wore it on several occasions with much pride.”

Speaking about the making of football films, Schwab admits that the hurdle here is the reproduction of fictitious football for fiction films. “Football is a sport where you can never tell what happens next. To reproduce this in fiction films is difficult because very often the spectators, especially football fans can tell that this is not real,” he says. However, he adds that in recent times the filming techniques have become sophisticated enough and so there is a better chance of it looking less fake. Smaller companies and independent productions though still struggle with this owing to budget constraints.


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