As part of football's One Game, One Community weeks of action against racism and discrimination in football, FURD has been hosting its first film festival with a series of free films highlighting football's potential to unite people and to inspire change.
The festival began on Friday 19th October at FURD's new home at the U-Mix Centre. The audience saw the big-screen premiere of FURD's 'Untold Stories' promotional film (see link below).
This was followed by a screening of 'Zanzibar Soccer Queens', a documentary about a mainly Muslim women's football team from Zanzibar in Tanzania, East Africa. The film challenges stereotypes about gender, race and religion as the women discuss the importance of football in their lives and contradictory opinions are aired by local men about the team.
The film's director, Florence Ayisi, was present to discuss the film with the audience. "To do anything you really want to do, you have to be a rebel", she said. "Football is a metaphor for freedom for the players. It's a space where they can have another identity other than that of wife or mother". She went on to discuss how the film has helped to change attitudes in Zanzibar. In 2009 for example, the Tanzanian government supported the team when they were invited to play in Germany. On their return, numerous parents asked if their daughters could join the club. They are also seen as a potential source of fit, healthy recruits by employers including the police and the army.
Feedback from the audience included, "I found it a very humbling experience", and "I think it's a hugely inspiring film".
The whole question and answer session can be heard by clicking the link below.
The film festival continued with a screening of 'Africa United' at the Showroom cinema on 25th October. The film follows the adventures of a group of children trying to get from their homes in Rwanda to the World Cup finals in South Africa. The show was followed by free food and an exchange of travellers' tales, particularly as experienced by refugees and asylum-seekers.
The finale of the festival came on Sunday 28th October with the premiere of the FURD-commissioned film 'The Arthur Wharton Story' at The Void, Sheffield Hallam University. The documentary, made by Jenson Grant and presented by Johnny Pitts, is a riches to rags story of a world record holding sprinter and the first black footballer, who was descended from Ghanaian royalty but died a penniless miner in a Doncaster workhouse. The film will form part of an educational pack to be produced as part of FURD's Arthur Wharton Heritage Project and includes footage showing how young people have been inspired by his story. The evening also showcased a short film by Rory Gault about the creative activities schools have been involved in, art produced by Dinnington and Westbourne Schools, members of Sheffield and Rotherham Young Writers' Groups read some Wharton-inspired poems they'd written and Newfield School poets flash mob performed their piece 'Arthur Wharton Was the Name'.