Women's soccer gets big screen treatment

BERLIN — After the surprise success of Soenke Wortmann’s behind the scenes docu about Germany’s soccer team at the 2006 World Cup, a film about the German women’s soccer team that won the 2007 tournament in China was given a red-carpet premiere on Monday ahead of its airing on pubcaster ARD on Jan. 2.

“Deutschland: ein Sommermaerchen” (Germany: A Summer’s Fairytale), the fly-on-the-wall view of the men’s team as it morphed from underdog to powerhouse, was one of the country’s top grossing films last year, pulling in more than $32 million from more than 4 million admissions. That was a spectacular return on investment for a film made for less than $1.3 million, with mostly WDR coin. Another 10.4 million watched ARD’s broadcast last December of the documentary, just two months after it first hit the cinema.

The women’s team won their second straight World Cup in September. The 90-minute film, cut down from 120 hours of raw material, by director Britta Becker and produced by Wortmann, is modestly called “Die besten Frauen der Welt” (The Best Women in the World).

“There was nothing left out of the film,” said coach Silvia Neid. “The most important thing is that the players become better known. That was the whole idea behind it and that’s the goal.”

Pic includes such tidbits as the women flew business class for the first time, that they played poker with each other in their free time, they put on a lot of hairspray before matches, and two key players did not shave their legs during the tournament due to a lost bet.

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