Jorge Leandro Colás presents his documentary in the Argentine Competition
The Football Boys is more than an documentary. The Football Boys is an analysis of a world we all imagine but know little of. A fierce look at the illusions that fly over at every breath of the kids who leave everything in the field –in the few minutes they have to show their abilities-, their own dreams, somebody else’s dreams, many times not even knowing what they are doing there or who those people are, who watch them play in the paddock or their neighborhood club. And we are talking about Boca Juniors. And when they get into that monster, everything changes. It is them, alone with their souls, facing a destiny that offers them a chance both tangible and distant.
In your documentary the performances are very natural. How did you achieve that intimacy and "invisibility” when shooting?
In this type of documentaries, which are called observational documentaries, the key factor is time. The time during which you have a relationship with the protagonists, even before shooting, when you get to know and understand the situations of what you’re about to shoot, and the time, usually prolonged, of shooting.
In the case of The Football Boys, thanks to our perseverance, we got into our characters’ routine, in the everyday work of the sensor team, and in the everyday tests. Little by little, they relaxed and did what they had to do normally and spontaneously in front of the camera.
Also, since we were recording the tests for players for Boca, Argentina’s most popular club, we realized they were all absolutely focused on the tests and not on us. Especially for the kids and their parents, the important thing was the test, the possibility of getting into Boca, the illusion of changing their lives forever. The fact that there was a camera recording everything was absolutely accessory to them, which is useful for these documentaries.
Which stories did you find during the shooting that were not included or planned in the script?
We had recorded some interviews with Boca’s talent hunters and, thanks to the previous research work he had done, we knew how the process and the tests were. But, of course, during shooting some things were done outside the routine and some unusual and unpredictable situations occurred. For example, to the test of the beginning of the film, which was announced by the club’s social networks, attended more than 1,500 boys and it was almost impossible to try them all. This sequence clearly shows Boca’s drawing power, the boys’ fanatic behavior and the chaos of such massive event.
We were also surprised by the magnitude of the arrival of Boca’s sensor committee in different provinces. We were in Santa Rosa, La Pampa, and in Quenumá, in the Province of Buenos Aires, and people there were very warm and affectionate with the sensors, especially with Boca’s former players and idols, such as Muñeco Madurga and Mono Perotti.
The decisions made avoid showing the situation as a simple reality show. Which things you knew you did not want to show or tell?
From the moment we decided to make a film about this, we decided to move away from the aesthetics and the narrative form of realities, since we believe it is a very familiar format broadcasted by massive means of communication.
We knew it was a risk –and, at the same time, a sort of dark temptation- not to go for the sensationalism and fascination caused by certain concepts used in realities, such as illusions, dreams and the road to glory.
We knew the boys would be an essential part of the film and that all of those issues would be somehow part of our story, but more indirectly, more laterally. We weren’t interested in human interest stories, or the long path towards debut, or the family issues we usually see used, embellished and emphasized by editing and music in television realities.
In this regard, the most radical and peculiar decision what to shift the point of view to the other boys, that group of talent hunters, their world, their artisan work, their sharp eye, their neighborhood philosophy. All of that struke us as more attractive, more unknown and more universal.
What were the difficulties when it came to recording that private world of Boca’s sensors?
Boca is a huge club, with a lot of people, a lot of interests, a lot of pressures, a lot of mood changes regarding the result of the matches. And all of that dynamic is seen in the institution’s everyday reality. We had a very general authorization from the club, but it was the sensors’ trust what allowed us to enter into that universe and register each of the stages of test and selection of the boys who, within a few years, will be Boca’s football players.
The training area has a very intense and changing work routine: they go from one place to another, they are invited by other clubs, they organize the scheduled tests, they schedule new ones, some are called off due to rain, they travel thousands of kilometers every day.
The challenge for us was to follow them and adapt to that. That process helped us gradually reveal that rhythm and the energy of all the things, and try to show that in the film.
You have a very close relationship with the Festival; your films were always exhibited in Mar del Plata and some of them even awarded. What are your expectations regarding The Football Boys’ premiere in this 30° edition?
To use a football metaphor, we can say our debut in the premiere league was in the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, when we screened our first film, Parador Retiro -2008-, not knowing what could happen, and what happened was that the audience reaction was amazing. It’s a Festival we love and enjoy, with which we feel aesthetically and ideologically identified. It’s a festival that gives a prominent place to documentary cinema, a cinema we defend in our production company and in our films.
Coming to Mar del Plata again with the first public screening of The Football Boys fills us with expectations and illusions. We hope this is the beginning of a long journey between the film and its audience.
TUE MA 3, 10.20 am, ALD 5
TUE 3, 6.50 pm, ALD 5
WED 4, 4.00 pm, ALD 5