Overthenextweek,theFoundationoftheSpanishpremierleagueclub AthleticBilbaowillholdthethirdeditionofitsfilmfestival, ThinkingFootball.Documentariesfromacrosstheworld,focusingontheroleoffootballinsociety,willaddressthemesincludingpoliticsandsocialinclusion.
The festival, which aims to reinforce the Foundation’s social work, will be held between 09 and 14 February, featuring 10 documentaries from countries, such as Brazil, France, Germany, the United States, Poland and the United Kingdom.
Galder Reguera, responsible for the corporate social responsibility department of Athletic Club Foundation, said: “We look at the festival as two sides of the same coin. On one hand the message behind the festival is that football is a way to understand society, on the other hand it represents a platform to help bring about a positive change in society.”
The festival was created after an event in 2011, which promoted a number of themed gatherings to discuss football in society and issues including equality, homophobia, economy, globalisation and identity, among others.
The initiative, which also featured a three side football tournament, brought to the capital of the Basque Country, personalities from different areas such as the British author Simon Kuper, the former English basketball player John Amaechi, the Argentinian former player Jorge Valdano and the Spanish politician Joaquín Almunia.
“The outcome of this initiative was great and we decided to continue it through an event that would help us think football: who we are, where we come from and where we are going to.
“Since we already have an annual football and literature event, we tried to think about a different format to explore this idea and, soon, the power of cinema to foster such discussions became quite obvious.” explained Reguera.
In 2015, the topics addressed include the social and political role of football players and clubs, football as the articulator of social inclusion and the use of football by political authorities, through films such as Les Rebelles du Football 2, 18team, and Cantona’s latest documentary Foot et immigration, 100 ans de historic commune.
“We hope in 2015 we can have even better audience numbers. People are starting to engage more, they have realised that this festival tells the stories of real people and real events.” Reguera added.
The football film festival is an initiative organised by the Athletic Club Foundation, the cultural centre Sala BBK and supported by Bilbao’s city council.