from the Everyman cinemas chain based in London; during September (23rd
-29th) they will be presenting for the first time in London the Kicking
& Screening Film Festival across their brands of cinema in North
and North West London at Hampstead, Belsize Park, Baker Street and
Screen on the Green - Islington. Screening the best films about
the world's greatest and most popular game.
K&S was the first film festival in North America devoted entirely to football/soccer films. The unprecedented success in 2009, led to a second one in 2010 with satellite festivals taking place also in Washington DC, Houston, Boston and even, Amsterdam. The third annual K&S/New York festival will be staged at the famous Tribeca cinemas later this month. And in September, football cinema is coming home.
Everyman cinemas however are asking upon film-makers to submit football-inspired shorts and/or features to be considered for this year's schedule. Anyone wishing to do so should go to the following links:
The deadline for submissions is August 1, with the full festival line up announced on August 31st.
It is worth noting that on the K&S advisory board, and those likely to have a say on the line-up include Grant Best (football live director with Sky Sports) and Tom Watt (renowned football historian and Arsenal fan, and broadcaster for BBC London)
And with such successes as The Damned United, Zidane and Once in a Lifetime released in recent years; the time is right for a glory tinged football festival.
Spread the word of this young festival, and if you can get down to any of the screenings, even better.
I was granted an interview with curator and programmer for the September festival, Tom Watt (actor and broadcaster) on the telephone.
I asked Mr.Watt, how did the idea to have a London football festival come about:
'Well, there is already an American festival currently in its third year in New York which was originated by Rachel Markus, who took the idea back to America with her. I have served on the advisory board of that festival, and it was inevitable to get a football/soccer festival in London. We sat down with the CEO of Everyman cinemas, Andy Myers who is himself a big football fan and he got the gist of it straight away and that got the ball rolling immediately'
What can we expect on the schedule?
'We hope to have a lot of things happening, but we are conscious to make sure that it is not like a typical film festival experience where it is too dry and a bit too buffy. We are hoping to have an opening night as a New York night with 'Once in a Lifetime' screening, and on the Saturday to have a combination of a premiere for youngsters along with Arsenal in the community. So we are getting actual football clubs involved and there definitely being something for everyone.
Are you going to have Q&A's?
'We will be, but we hope to not have Q&A sessions with just the directors and writers of the featured films, for instance we hope to have One Night in Turin screening, where you are just as likely to see a featured player from the 1990 England World Cup squad as the director, Pete Davies. It is important we make the festival as inclusive as possible.'
I mention to Mr.Watt, how all the more memorable films involving soccer seem to be feature documentaries why does it not serve drama better?
'I feel that is because football is fluid and unpredictable, which is also why it is the most popular sport in the world. Unlike American football and baseball [which we agreed were better served by dramatic film], which are very stop and start in their action; football is difficult to capture and that is in the nature of the game. Although I do hope we will be able to screen In the Hands of Gods, which was about a group of guys travelling to meet Diego Maradona, which was set up and shot like a documentary but the journey lent it a dramatic direction in its action.
'The more I talk about the festival and the more people hear about it, they are confident it will work. We have a London film festival, a Jewish film festival, a Horror film festival; I am convinced it can become part of the festival calendar. Also, along with the work of Everyman cinemas who will get us the films, and with support from our sponsors at Sky Sports and the 'Hawksbee and Jacobs' show on TalkSport, I am hopeful we will be showing films to packed sold out houses and that people will see the festival as a series of events rather than a series of films'.
And for the closing night?
'I am hopeful, we will be able to screen Escape to Victory [John Huston's 1981 picture which featured the star-studded line-up of Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, Pele, Ossie Ardiles and Russell Osman] on a big screen. The film is fondly thought of, and yet I do not know anyone who has seen it in a cinema, we have all seen it on video or DVD late night with a beer, so to see it in a communal cinema is a dream of mine.
I end my interview there with Mr.Watt and wish him well for the festival which will run between September 23rd-29th 2001 at the Everyman Cinemas across their numerous sites in North London.
Follow the festival on twitter @KSFilmFest and on Facebook:
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