I Play Soccer is a 6-minute short film about the Sierra Leone football academy run by the Craig Bellamy Foundation. By Stefan Lovgren, the film is more advertising than documentary. Like many soccer movies, I learned more from researching the subject than watching this film.
No Ball Games is a 7-minute short film that might turn off a typical soccer movie fan. I found humor in it but my hubby did not. It reflects the director’s sense of humor, entrancing the viewer with a boy whose ball goes over a wall into a secret garden.
Redemption Song is an important piece to watch on US soccer and Afro-American history. It is the true story of the Howard University all-black Mens Soccer team, compressed into a woefully short 16 minutes.
The team won the 1971 NCAA championship, only to see it perhaps unjustly vacated and the team put on probation. To prove their excellence, the players fought back to win the NCAAs again in 1974.
In 12 minutes, Jeremy Santolin’s micro-documentary Mr. Smith reveals the dogged path traversed by a player who turned pro at age 27. Matt Smith grew up in the Portsmouth youth system but was cut at age 17.
Baghdad Messi is a heartbreaking 19 minute short film that recently became available on Amazon Prime. The film was just shy of the final cut of nominees for Live Action Short Film of the 2014 Academy Awards.
Lady Fútbol is a 2005 comedic episode of Infieles, a Chilevisión adult TV series about infidelity. A young wife in a sewing factory is ignored by her husband, who is more interested in football.
Her boss suggests that turnaround is fair play, and she should join the factory womens football team. Besides drinking and staying out late, a side benefit is the coach with fabulous abs, who is all over the new recruit.
Erison Turay and his mother lost 38 of their relatives to Ebola in Sierra Leone and were left with 15 family orphans to care for. He and his mother overcame their infections, but survivors cannot find jobs and their struggles to live continue on.
Michael Foreman is a renowned British author and illustrator of many children’s books. But the book that affected people the most was his 1989 “War Boy”, about what it was like to grow up in a small village at the start of World War I.
I watched The Opposition last year but didn’t write about it because the film was so disturbing. This ESPN 30 for 30 TV episode documents how General Pinochet’s junta tortured and killed dissidents. They used the Chilean national stadium as a prison while the team prepared to qualify for WC 1974.
Rättskiparen is a short Swedish documentary about Martin Hansson, a former firefighter, divorced with 2 sons, who puts football before everything else in hopes of refereeing at WC 2010.
Kick Like a Girl is a 25-minute HBO documentary that follows a team of 8 year old girls who, having devastated all competition the previous two years, decide to get more challenge by playing in the boys division.