Can soccer promote cultural understanding around the globe? That’s a notion that four Americans explore in Pelada, a documentary that screens Sept. 21 at Legends Bar and Restaurant in New York. Get tickets here.
Filmmaker and former Duke soccer star Rebekah Fergusson‘s initial idea was to do a doc about what happens once players hang up their cleats. But when her friend Gwen Oxenham, who also played at Duke, charmed her way into playing with men in a pickup soccer game on a beach in Mexico, the buddies realized what really should be the focus of the film. Along with Ryan White and Luke Boughen (a former Notre Dame player), the wound up visiting 25 countries over six months, shooting footage of Gwen and Luke playing in pickup soccer games all around the world and meeting some interesting characters along the way.
While Rebekah and Ryan worked behind the camera, Gwen and Luke played with inmates at a prison in La Paz, Bolivia, with women in hijab in Iran, with bootleggers in Kenya, and with construction workers who were preparing a stadium built for the last World Cup. The result is a compelling look at the people and politics that make soccer the world’s game. Watch the trailer and let us know in the following poll if you think soccer has the power to bring people of different cultures together.