More Than Just A Game…

Pan African Film Festival 2012 has finally drawn to a close.  Over the ten days that we attended the event, William and I saw 29 entries from countries as far-flung as Guadeloupe, South Africa, Jamaica, Kenya, Mozambique, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Senegal.  As always, the films were wonderful  windows into the world — both entertaining and educating us.

The 14th century Sufi poet Rumi once observed that “…a cow walking through the spectacular city of Baghdad will see only watermelon rinds and tufts of hay.”  In other words, you tend to focus on what you are interested in.  One of the most fascinating things about PAFF for William and me this year was that in well over half of the features and documentaries we saw there was at least one scene involving soccer.  Sometimes it was only a brief background shot that others probably didn’t even take notice of, but for us it stood out like a giant flag, reminding us just how integral the game is in so many societies around the world and reinvigorating our commitment to encourage people to Travel With Balls.

PAFF’s founder, Ayuko Babu, invited us to give a short TWB presentation to the audience before a screening of Africa United, a delightful film about three African kids who journey the length of the African continent to make it the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.  The audience was very enthusiastic about TWB and several people approached us after the film to get more information and to tell us that they would definitely Travel With Balls in the future.  So our journey to spread the message of TWB continues!

On a final note about this year’s festival, the PAFF Jury Award for Best Feature Film was awarded to “The Inside Story,” a brilliantly innovative South African movie that intersperses traditional narrative filmmaking with segments of animation to tell the story of a rising young soccer star who contracts AIDS.  The film is being used to educate  teenagers about how the disease is transmitted and how it affects the body.  To learn more about “The Inside Story” and the nonprofit organization the film-makers have set up to help advance their mission, click here:

Travel With Balls, Y’all! 

Peace & Blessings,