Two acclaimed Latin American women's football films at Amnesty's 'Sidelines' festival

Amnesty International UK will show two acclaimed Latin American films about women playing football at its first ever football film festival, Sidelines, in London this summer.

Sidelines, which runs from 6 - 8 June at Hackney Picturehouse, will be a weekend of thought-provoking films – including the UK premiere of Eric Cantona’s new documentary about Brazil, Looking for Rio - lively Q&A sessions and panel discussions, all with a football and human rights theme.

While the footballing world gears up for Brazil 2014 -  the first World Cup in Latin America since Mexico ‘86 - these two documentaries shed light on those, who thanks to their circumstances, can be excluded from the game often referred to as ‘the great leveller’.

Goals for Girls: A Story of Women with Balls - Argentina

Goals for Girls: A Story of Women with Balls tells the story of a group of young women from Buenos Aires’ notorious Villa 31 shantytown who set out to form their own football team. Their dream is to compete in the Homeless World Cup in Brazil, but first they have to take on disapproving parents, disrespectful peers and disinterested football authorities to win the right to play.

Director Ginger Gentile said:

“We are honoured that Goals for Girls is participating in Amnesty UK’s Sidelines Film Festival. Our film not only focuses on the challenges for women who want to play football in Argentina, where it is considered a male sport, but also the plight of girls living in a shantytown.

 “But beyond that, it shows that another type of football is possible. Away from the money, the corruption, the slave-like selling of players, exist teams where football is used to teach about human rights and teamwork. It is a football where the players are motivated by passion, not money. And in Argentina, this football is played by women.”

This screening will be followed by a panel discussion with:

  • Ginger Gentile, Goals for Girls Director
  • Marieanne Spacey, Assistant Manager of the England women’s team
  • Sarah-Jane Mee, Sky News Presenter
  • Anna Kessel, Guardian Sports Writer
  • Paul Mortimer, ex-Charlton Women’s manager . 

Buy tickets via Picturehouse

The Railroad All-Stars - Guatemala

Chema Rodriguez’ The Railroad All-Stars is about a group of sex workers who live in a destitute neighbourhood of Guatemala City. Fed up with the abuse they get from customers, partners and the police, they form a football team - the Railroad All-Stars – hoping to draw attention to their plight. After weeks of training and their first game against a local secondary school team, the All-Stars are banned from future competitions because they are sex workers. This controversy, however, brings enormous media attention, precisely what the players had been hoping for.
Chema Rodriguez said:

“Shooting The Railroad All-Stars and everything that went with it was the most thrilling professional experience of my life. We shot it with love, with solidarity, wanting to enjoy ourselves and at the same time wanting change some things in a world full of injustices. Football changed their lives, and they changed ours.”

The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Director Chema Rodriguez. Buy tickets via Picturehouse
Amnesty International’s UK director Kate Allen said:

“We are delighted to be showing these two films. With just 5% of media coverage in the UK devoted to women's sport and girls’ participation in sport significantly less than boys’, women and girls often have to fight ten times harder for recognition. These films show that’s the case elsewhere too.

“The films are in turn moving, funny and shocking, and they both feature characters who demand our respect for their skill, tenacity and resilience against the odds. They show sport in a different light, which is what the Sidelines festival is all about.”

Other documentaries to be shown at the festival explore themes ranging from the ups and downs ups and downs of the Egyptian national side during the Arab Spring (American Pharaoh), the non-Jewish Ajax fans in the Netherlands who call themselves Jews (SuperJews), Spanish Civil War refugees who became the first Spaniards to play professional football in England (Informe Robinson/The Children of the Habana).

See the full programme

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