The Palestinian soccer team may not have qualified for the World Cup, but the filmmakers behind a pair of docs chronicling the team’s struggle to make the tournament are using the Cup to promote the pics.
“World Cup Inshallah” world-premiered June 8 as the closing film of London’s Curzon Soho cinema’s Kick ‘N’ Flicks fest. “Goal Dreams,” the feature-length edit of “Inshallah,” screened on the Israel/Palestine Separation Wall in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah.
The docs chart the painful development of Palestinian soccer, which is dogged by the lack of a home field (the team plays most of its “home” games in the Qatar capital, Doha) and the lack of a common language among its players, who are of different nationalities.
“It would have been nice to follow the team to Germany,” says Maya Sanbar, co-director and co-producer of the films with Jeffrey Saunders. “(But) our chief motivation in making the film was to portray Palestinian identity in a non-political way for a change.”
“The World Cup is a great background to show how in this case, soccer is acting as a catalyst for unity,” she adds.
“Goal Dreams” will have its U.S. preem at the Zeitgeist Theater in New Orleans on June 21. It screens July 6 in New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It’s set to air on the Sundance Channel starting July 8.