A WORLD CUP COMES ONCE
What an amazing week. Seriously, from the opening kick on Tuesday until the final whistle on Friday, the 10th annual Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival in New York was our "best festival ever." A few highlights:
- Opening night film Football for Better or Worse director Inger Molin's film introduction, which perfectly expressed the passion that it takes to make an intense film. A powerful way to open the week.
- Night 1's panel on women's soccer, featuring Christie Pearce Rampone, Jeff Kassouf, Susie Piotrkowski, and Amanda Vandervort, and sponsored by Societe Generale, which made many really smart points, including what is needed to grow the game on the women's side. As Amanda put it: "We need more women in leadership positions."
- The world premiere of Messi & Me, which brought the house down. It was even cooler because the star, Matt Eliason, was in attendance. In fact, it was the first time he'd ever seen the film.
- The short film Boniek et Platini, which reminded us of the power of a short film to sometimes be more poignant that a full-length feature.
- The lively panel on "Soccer Style," featuring Simon Doonan, Shawn Francis, Lucas Shanks, and Calen Carr, which touched on everything from kit design to eye cream, and definitively confirmed David Beckham the O.G. soccer-style icon.
- Doonan's report on why 19th-cent. football jerseys had horizontal stripes: They were made on machines that normally made long underwear, and so could only produce tubes for legs, torso, and arms. Only later did people start sewing vertical stripes, a la Doonan's all-time favorite kit: Newcastle.
- New York Red Bulls players Sean Davis, Alex Muyl, and Florian Valot, who showed up on Wednesday and were very cool to take photos with a few kids from our charitable partner South Bronx United.
- The Hungarian fan who said a lot of the jokes in the short film On the Bench got lost in translation. "It was really funny in Hungarian," he said. We replied, "OK."
- The emotion of Nossa Chape, about the Chapecoense FC air tragedy and its aftermath. There wasn't a dry eye in the house after the film, which will be in theaters in NYC and Los Angeles June 1, and then nationwide June 7.
- Closing night's world premiere of American Futbol, an exclamation point on the week. The film chronicles the journey of four Americans on their way to the World Cup in Brazil with soccer as their passport. It needs to be seen by many more people!
- If you're going to throw a closing-night party, always include the New York Red Bulls. They helped us throw an epic bash. (K+S co-founder Greg Lalas was especially thrilled by all the Lionel Richie the DJ played.)
- Finally, Einstok Beer is really good.
None of this would've been possible without the talented filmmakers who work so hard to tell great stories, the partners and friends who provide the foundation for the festival, the dedicated volunteers who happily help us out, and, most important, the New York soccer community who come out to the festival each year.
Next year will mark our 11th festival in New York, and given the importance of the number 11 in soccer, we are already excited for what's to come. Every new year provides another opportunity to have a new "best festival ever." We already have ideas, so get ready.
See you next year, New York!
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