Philly Filmmakers Set to Premiere 2010 World Cup Documentary

Philly Filmmakers Set to Premiere 2010 World Cup Documentary

If you are a sports fan you likely remember where you were on June 23, 2010 when Landon Donovan scored an extra time winner against Algeria to push the United States Men's National Team to the knockout stage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Local filmmakers Ashwin Chaudhary and Jon Korn will never forget it either. See, they were in South Africa shooting a documentary when Donovan scored that dramatic goal. Since that glorious June day Chaudhary and Korn have been working on a film documenting their experiences following the US team in South Africa.

On February 2nd they'll screen their film, titled LADUMA, at the Ritz East. A portion of the proceeds from the tickets sold will go towards the Son's of Ben Help Kick Hunger initiative

In anticipation of the screening I had the opportunity to interview Chaudhary. The story behind the film is fascinating. If you are a fan of sports and sports documentaries then this is a must see. The trailer for the film and the interview are after the Jump. 

Q: Can you describe what the movie is about? Did you arrive in South Africa with a a storyline in mind?

A: LADUMA is the parallel stories of the American experience at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and the host country's journey from Apartheid to hosting the world's biggest party. Co-director Jon Korn and I spent the year before the World Cup traveling with U.S. supporters on the intense Qualifying journey, visiting places like Mexico City and Honduras. Then in 2010, we both left our jobs, packed our bags, and departed for Johannesburg with no budget and no script, simply hoping to see the USA make history at the World Cup and capture the experience on camera.

Q: What was South Africa like? What stood out about the host country and people? Was there a sense that the country was showcasing the progress it's made post-apartheid?

A: Our second night in the country, we met 2 black South African guys our age while shooting pool at a bar in Joburg. Leeroy and Zem quickly became our friends and guides, and inspired the South African story in the film. Through their eyes, we quickly realized the magnitude of this event for their nation, and how truly humbling it was for them to be hosting people from all over the world. South African society is still comprised of a wealthy class and an extremely poor class living side-by-side, but for this one month, everyone was united in celebration. Despite the disappointing performance of Bafana Bafana (the South African national team), the 2010 World Cup felt like a culmination of everything that country had been through culturally and politically for hundreds of years.

Q: The trailer features ESPN soccer personalities Alexi Lalas, Bob Ley, and the voice of Ian Darke. How did you have access to the ESPN people and audio?

A: After the World Cup, our friends the American Outlaws supporter group helped us contact Alexi Lalas, who represented our nation at the 1994 World Cup, and has experienced the growth of American soccer as a supporter, player, MLS team GM, and TV analyst. Alexi was down to do an interview for the film, as was Bob Ley, who I contacted via Facebook (thanks, social media!). Bob invited us to Bristol, CT. to do his interview, and insisted that we contact Ian Darke about using his epic call of Landon Donovan's goal. Everyone was into our idea and wanted to be a part of it.

Q: What do you want people to take away from your film?

A: The word "LADUMA" itself means "GOAL!" and carries a sense of achievement. The meaning is two-fold for our film; it represents the achievement of USA winning the Group in dramatic fashion, and it represents South Africa rising up from the ashes of Apartheid to host this global celebration. What sets LADUMA apart from other documentaries is that it's not focused on just one person. It's the experience of several people, from the wild parties at Nelson Mandela square to the kids playing street soccer in the townships. Mostly, this film is OUR experience from the World Cup.

Q: Why soccer? What is it about the game that inspires you to make films documenting the sport and the fans who follow it?

A: Soccer extracts a passion from people that other sports can't; it's really at another level. The notion of "support" in soccer transcends what it means to be a "fan" in other sports. In the NBA, you have Justin Bieber playing on the speakers as the team dribbles up court; in baseball, fans only cheer "Charge!" when prompted by the PA announcer. In soccer, the noise and intensity is 100% authentic. Supporting your club is more than just chanting "Let's Go [insert team name]" when your team is in front; it's about singing and chanting for the full 90 minutes, no matter the score.

Q: How did growing up as a Philadelphia sports fan inform your sports and film sensibility?

A: Philly is an underdog town. We have that chip on our shoulder and relish proving our doubters wrong. Our whole lives, Jon and I grew up dreaming of a parade down Broad Street (until 2008... thanks, Phils!).. The US Men's Soccer team is the same way - an underdog on the World's stage. Our project's name - One Goal - represents that dream of someday winning the World Cup. It's no wonder the Philadelphia Union has been such a huge success - Philly is wired for soccer support.

Q: If you could make a film about any Philadelphia sport or athlete who or what would it be?

A: Maybe in a year, the story of the 2013 Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. But for right now, it would have to be the Michael Vick story. What he did was so awful, and his complete turnaround has been so stunning, that it would make for a fascinating documentary.

Q: Why should people go see this film?

A: This film is FOR supporters, BY supporters. It’s not just about one person, but about several. It’s about a sub-culture of American sports that doesn’t get enough exposure. People who aren’t soccer fans should see this movie because it might show them why this sport is so great, and how “support” beats “fandom” any day of the week. After seeing LADUMA, people should spread the word so that one day, the U.S. Men’s soccer team can fill an entire stadium with supporters cheering on the Stars and Stripes.

Q: Any parting thoughts?

A: If you want to see soccer grow in America, come see LADUMA at the Ritz East in Philly on February 2nd, and help us get the word out about this film. Social media can do big things, so “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@OneGoalUSA), and share our film trailer. We want the Philadelphia screening to launch our 2012 screening tour, and social media support will help us fill theater seats across the country. We’re just getting started, and the Road to Brazil 2014 is right around the corner. Philly is the best sports city in America, and February 2nd will be a great night for the Beautiful Game in the City of Brotherly Love.

Photo Credits: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE, Brian Snyder/Reuters

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

Nerlens Noel excited for impending return to game action

NEW ORLEANS -- The weeks and months have quickly piled up. Nerlens Noel has not played an NBA regular-season game since last season ended for the Sixers on April 13. Nearly eight months later, Noel is nearing the return he has been eyeing for quite some time now. 

“It’s always an excitement to be able to play basketball after this amount of time, including the summer, not being able to play organized basketball at a competitive level,” Noel said Thursday. “I’ve been really looking forward to this. I think I’ve gained some momentum coming back from this minor surgery, and I think I’m in a really good place and I’m feeling good with my body. Everything is on point.”

Noel has been sidelined since undergoing elective left knee surgery in October to address an inflamed plica. He traveled to New Orleans on Wednesday to join the Sixers ahead of their 99-88 win over the Pelicans (see game recap). Noel continued his rehab Thursday while the team prepped for the game. 

“I’ve been able do five-on-five, full contact,” Noel said. “I’ve tried to maximize my opportunities of that with the team being gone on the road. I came down here and went through most of shootaround and it went well. Now these next couple of days, [I will be] going through practice, still working on my wind. I do like where I’m at now.”

The Sixers’ next game is Sunday against the Pistons in Detroit. Brett Brown had given Noel’s availability for that game a “maybe” (see story)

“I’m not sure,” Noel said of playing Sunday. “I’m ready to go with these next couple of days and see how my wind feels and how my body feels, which I have been feeling good. So it’s a possibility.”

When Noel does return, there is a scenario in which he could be paired with center Joel Embiid. Last year, the Sixers struggled finding the best way to utilize Noel and Jahlil Okafor, also a center, at the same time playing the four and five positions. As Okafor has said of playing with Embiid, Noel also believes his off-the-court friendship with the towering rookie would translate onto the court. 

“I think it would be something that’s experimented,” Noel said. “It’d definitely be interesting.”

Noel candidly expressed his opinion of the Sixers’ logjammed frontcourt at the start of the season. Since speaking to the media after his surgery, Noel has mentioned he is in a good mental place (see story). For him, that means being out on the court again. 

“I love myself and I love the game of basketball,” Noel said. “When I step out here to come and play, it just brings a lot of enjoyment and excitement to me. Regardless of what the details of it are, I just love the game and I’m happy to just be playing.”

Best of NHL: Flames edge Coyotes in OT for fifth straight win

Best of NHL: Flames edge Coyotes in OT for fifth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dougie Hamilton scored 1:09 into overtime, Chad Johnson stopped 27 shots and the Calgary Flames beat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Thursday night.

Mark Giordano scored for the Flames in a chippy game filled with big hits and multiple fights.

Hamilton capped a fast-paced overtime by deking Arizona's Mike Smith with a forehand before flipping in a backhander. Calgary has won five straight and eight of 11 (8-2-1).

Max Domi scored before leaving with an upper-body injury and Smith stopped 33 shots for the Coyotes, who have lost six straight and 11 of 14 (3-7-4).

Arizona captain Shane Doan became Arizona's all-time assist leader and is the fifth player in NHL history to own his team's records for games played, goals, assists, points, game-winning goals and power-play goals (see full recap).

Crosby, Penguins roll over Panthers
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby got his 18th goal and added an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Florida Panthers 5-1 on Thursday night.

Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl, Matt Cullen and Carl Hagelin also scored for Pittsburgh. Matt Murray made 28 saves.

The Penguins have won four straight and five of their past six.

Jaromir Jagr scored his 755th career goal, and Roberto Luongo stopped 25 shots for the Panthers. Luongo allowed three goals on Pittsburgh's first five shots.

Panthers coach Tom Rowe, who replaced Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, made his home debut. The Panthers have lost five of six under Rowe, but managed a point in three of those losses (see full recap).

Price loses cool as Habs beat Devils
MONTREAL -- Carey Price lost his temper after being bumped twice in his crease and made 19 saves to help the Montreal Canadiens beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Thursday night.

Torrey Mitchell scored twice and Phillip Danault, Artturi Lehkonen and Max Pacioretty also had goals for the Canadiens in their return from a five-game trip.

Adam Henrique scored a goal and set up one by Taylor Hall for New Jersey, which ended a two-game winning streak.

Montreal had a season-high 49 shots on Cory Schneider.

A wild first period included three goals, four goal reviews and Price's meltdown (see full recap).