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11mm Film Fest: Finally back on the field

The delayed 17th edition of this festival dedicated to football is back at Babylon. Here are the highlights.

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Freedom Fields, directed by Naziha Arebi, follows three women and their football team in post-revolution Libya. Photo: HuNa Productions

Taking place seven months later than originally planned, the 11mm International Football Film Festival caters not only to football fans, but also to cinephiles with a taste for stellar documentaries. From 15 to 19 October, it’s finally back with its 17th edition this month at Babylon kino. The festival management have largely kept their original line-up of films and have stated that, for the first time, parts of the program will be accessible via streaming over the entire festival period. Viewers can register online for a one-time fee of €11 and watch the selected films, as well as vote for the audience award.

The festival’s eclectic line-up of films this year touch upon various themes, including coaching and goalkeeping: it kicks off on the 15th at 7.30pm with the documentary Men Of Hope, a portrait of an Afghan football team and their German-Croatian coach Petar Šegrt. The squad are on their way to qualifying for the Asia Cup 2019 and filmmakers Till Derenbach and Andreas Fröhlich end up discovering what they refer to as “the most dangerous football coach jobs in the world”. The series of films about goalkeepers includes the German premiere of Dutch doc Keeper (6.30pm on the 18th) by Johan Kramer. The filmmaker followed solitary goalies from various Dutch leagues, with eye-opening and at times humorous results.

Another special focus this year is on the worldwide development of women’s football, headlined by a screening of our festival highlight, the 2018 doc Freedom Fields (5.30pm on the 16th). Naziha Arebi’s film follows three women and their football team in post-revolution Libya – it’s the impressive story of how the team struggles to gain mainstream acceptance, dreams of playing their first international game and become not only role models but also accidental activists who represent the challenges facing women in contemporary Libyan society.

The biggest name in this year’s programme is Asif Kapadia’s superbly edited doc Diego Maradona (8pm on the 17th) which delves into the life of the infamous Argentinian legend and establishes a Jekyll / Hyde dédoublement of shy boy Diego and ego-monster Maradona. Lastly, make sure to check out Alex Gale’s UK doc The Fort (7.45pm on the 16th) which chronicles the trials and tribulations of the Scottish Highland League team Fort William FC. Cult for all the wrong reasons, the club has been dubbed Britain’s worst football team, and their first season under new management is a sight to behold: unrest in the locker rooms, cash flow debacles, and an uphill struggle for survival. And hopefully some orange slices at half-time.

Oct 15 – 19, Babylon Kino (Mitte). Full programme at 11-mm.de