Ahh... back to the comforts of a laptop computer. Really, Yola, I hope you're reading this. Because like an ex-girlfriend, I'm over you. Well, your iPhone interface at least. Why can't we post sweet blogs together when I ride the bus? Why can't we make magic happen while I sit in Central Park in the snow? Wordpress allows me to do all kinds of things to her on my phone. You should see the shit we can do together. But I'll give you a chance Yola. You've been good to me all these years, and I'm honest like that. But seriously, you need to sort your shit out.

Anyway, this time last week I was watching the amazing documentary called Laduma that I blogged briefly about last Thursday. What an incredible night. 

It was on the back of a pretty bent week - so fears of falling asleep soon after the lights went soft were not unfounded. Jilly Bob, Warren G and I shuffled to the makeshift bar on the 3rd floor of the NY Film Academy and tentatively asked for three beers. The piss-yellow wine in paper cups didn't look too appealing. But I'll be damned, when that first sip of yeast milkshake hit the lips, all was right in the world again. 

We were soon shepherded into a long room with a pull-down screen on one end and rows of directors chairs all the way to the back of the other. We found our seats towards the back, behind a Jake Gyllenhaal doppelganger. Moments later three guys walked to the front of the room to introduce the film - the makers themselves and also Jilly Bob's friends. They explained the premise of the film - a documentary about the game of soccer and it's ability to unite people from vastly different backgrounds as told through the eyes of US soccer supporters travelling in South Africa for the FIFA 2010 World Cup. 

 

With that the lights dimmed and the first ever screening of this film began. 

What was to unfold over the next 90 minutes or so was a heartfelt and passionate account of the life of a travelling soccer supporter; an appeal to the minds of Americans to see the beautiful game as something that they can all get behind; and most delicately and masterfully handled - an exploration of the country of South Africa and what the game of soccer, and that World Cup in particular, meant to us as a nation. 


I felt lumps in my throat throughout the screening: when they showed the kids of the Takalani Daycare Center in Alexandria, always smiling; the throngs of black, white and brown South Africans in unbridled joy at sightings of the Bafana Bafana bus or a Bafana goal; young members of the Young Tigers soccer team who unanimously chose Simphiwe Tshabala (scorer of this wonder goal in the opening game - check the celebration afterwards too, loving it) as their favourite player.  

The filmmakers were not overly effusive at all in their sentiment towards South Africa. It never came across anything more than an honest American impression of our country, and yet the light it painted South Africa in left a warm glow for hours after watching the film. 

I also left with the impression that American soccer is really on the rise. That their team did so well and received so much support from South Africans (until they faced Ghana of course, when one supporter quipped that it was like they were playing the whole of Africa in that round of 16 game) is testament to a team that plays the right way, fights hard and is winning more support by the day. 

 

Bravo to an excellent job gentlemen. Really classy production. 

Upon leaving the screening, the filmmakers greeted guests at the exit and accepted warm praise from all those that attended. One of the guys even had tears in his eyes - you could see how much this meant to them.


The plan, apparently, is to get the film into various festivals here in America. They are also in negotiations with the SABC to broadcast the documentary back home, which I think would be an excellent idea (are you listening Sizwe Nzimande?). Hopefully the film gets the publicity and recognition it deserves.

As for us... well, I think Warren G, new to the States having been here for 4-5 weeks, summed it up well when he wrote this: "Last night, I drove my car into the greatest city in the USA to watch a local movie production at the New York Film Academy, it was an Americans point of view of the Soccer World Cup 2010, I can't tell you how proud I was of our wonderful country. We brought the AYOBAness!"


Ayobaness fo sho.