In the build-up to the 2014 World Cup, the Sidelines festival, which runs from 06 – 08 June, at Hackney Picturehouse, is a celebration of football and a call for attention on the issues around human rights overlooked within and around the game.
Included in the festival’s lineup is the UK premiere of former Manchester United legend Eric Cantona’s documentary about the passion and fury surrounding football in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Cantona’s hour-long documentary ‘Looking for Rio’ charts the development of Rio’s four main football clubs (Fluminense, Vasco de Gama, Flamengo and Botafago), the intense rivalries between them and the social context in which they came into being.
The film also looks at the complex relationship Rio has with football where government spending on the World Cup has forced Brazilians on the streets in protest.
“A documentary film can be a very powerful way to explore and expose what’s going on in a country – the good and the bad – by showing people important issues they might not otherwise get to see. It can add also to international pressure for change. I really hope ‘Looking for Rio’ does both.” said the former France international.
Other documentaries to be shown at the festival document the ups and downs of the Egyptian national side during the Arab Spring, the non-Jewish Ajax fans in the Netherlands who call themselves Jews, Spanish Civil War refugees who became the first Spaniards to play professional football in England and the Argentinian women players fighting for recognition by their families, friends, clubs and the country’s Football Association.
“Amnesty has been campaigning around sporting events for some time and our work has never been more important than it is now. Through captivating documentaries and panel debates, Amnesty’s film festival is set to influence, inspire and unite the two worlds of sport and human rights.” said Amnesty International’s UK director, Kate Allen.
Alongside with the festival, Q&A’s and panel debates will look at other topics, including racism and homophobia in football, the responsibility major sports bodies have to challenge human rights abuses in host countries and women in football.