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The inaugural Kicking and Screening Soccer Film Festival will kick off in New York City on July 14, bringing four modern classic soccer films to fans.

The first ever Kicking and Screening international soccer film festival will kick off in New York City on July 14 and run through the July 18. The festival, organized by Rachel Markus and Goal.com Magazine editor Greg Lalas, will not only feature some classic films from the soccer world, but will be highlighted by special guest appearances by former New York Cosmos player Shep Messing as well as a panel discussion about David Beckham on Thursday. The festival will also feature the New York Red Bulls street freestyle team performing on Wednesday and Saturday nights prior to the showing of the films.

 

“My hope is to  raise the awareness and love of soccer and soccer films for soccer fans and for film fans, and to convert new fans from people that might not have come to see a soccer film in the first place,” Markus said in an interview with Goal.com. “We can’t go back in time to watch the ’98 French final, but we can bring people to the film and hopefully share that feeling with them again.”

 

Despite the newness of the event, expansion is already on the horizon, with events being scheduled in Washington, D.C., in October, Massachusetts next spring, and possibly even in South Africa next March. New York will host the main edition annually.

 

“This is the first time we’re doing this,” she said. “Possibly the first time this has been done in the States, let alone New York City. Regrettably, New York City or the U.S. is not as soccer mad as other parts of the world, but we’ve been really thrilled by the support we’re getting from media, from potential sponsors, from people just wanting to help out. And from ticket sales as well.”

 

Kicking and Screening is another step in bringing in the worldwide culture of soccer to the U.S., and Markus thinks that New York is a wonderful place to begin.

 

“I think New York is the perfect location to do the first festival, especially because of the global nature of New York City and its diverse backgrounds,” Markus said. “You know, first- or second-generation people from different countries who might have grown up with the deep passion for soccer. And I think, again, people who might not have realized how exciting it can be to watch a game will come to these films and come away with the feeling that they want more.”

 

The lineup includes Les Yeux dans les Bleus, a documentary about the 1998 French World Cup team (showing July 14), and the highly regarded film about Pele and the New York Cosmos in the 1970s, Once in a Lifetime (July 15). Friday night (July 17) is FC Barcelona Confidential, a look inside the Catalan giants, and the festival closes with In the Hands of the Gods, about a group of freestyle players who use their skills to work their way to Argentina in the hopes of meeting their hero, Diego Maradona.

 

On Thursday, July 16, the festival presents a special panel discussion titled "David Beckham in America." The panel, which includes former LA Galaxy president Alexi Lalas, "This Is American Soccer" blogger Adam Spangler, and sport and culture professor Amy Bass, will look at Beckham's effect on the American soccer scene. The event is followed by a viewing party of the New York Red Bulls-LA Galaxy game--Beckham's first game back with the Galaxy after his off-season loan with AC Milan.


Kicking and Screening should offer fans a rare opportunity to enjoy the passion of the game in a setting other than a stadium. For more information of this unique event visit the Kicking and Screening website.

 

Allen Ramsey, Goal.com

 

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