This morning I was poring over the schedule for the upcoming Pan African Film Festival (www.paff.org). Because it’s their 20th anniversary, the festival is bringing back 20 “classic” films in addition to the dozens of new releases they’ll be screening.
I was delighted to see that two of the movies they’ve chosen to bring back involve African kids and soccer. “Africa United,” (see the trailer above) follows a winsome group of children as they adventure their way across the whole of the Continent to the World Cup in South Africa (The film was originally released right before the tournament in 2010.) I remember that the entire audience cheered at the end of this charming, uplifting film and I can’t wait to see it again!
“The Yellow Card,” a 2000 film from Zimbabwe, was made as a way of educating Zimbabwean youth about HIV and AIDS. Instead of trying to reach kids through a dry documentary, the filmmakers ingeniously made a fast-paced narrative feature about a 17-year old soccer star with plenty of dazzling soccer scenes and lots of loud music to keep a teenager’s attention. The movie manages both to entertain and to impart a serious social message, and PAFF will be screening it for free to several hundred school kids during their StudentFest this year.
In America, it’s easy to forget just how much soccer means to the rest of the world. Films like “Africa United” and “The Yellow Card” help remind us that it’s the world’s most popular game, and that it’s truly a wonderful thing to Travel With Balls!
Peace & Blessings,