The Art & the Film Festival

World Cup special issue: Our pick of official World Cup art posters and Amnesty’s Sidelines film festival, which explores issues around football and human rights

The Prints

Alongside the official World Cup tournament poster and the series of ‘host city’ posters, it is now traditional that selected artists also produce prints for each competition. For 2014, 23 artists (or their estates) have been involved, including Jeff Koons and Keith Haring, with each print available in an edition of 2,014. Shown here are, Bigger Than (2012) by Rochelle Costi; Untitled (2012) by Allora & Calzadilla; Blindside Run (1996) by Gabriel Orozco; and Untitled (1959) by Hercules Barsotti. All of 2014’s art editions are available to buy at artbrasil2014.com. Twelve of the official tournament posters produced since 1930 appear in the Mexico 86 sticker album (see previous article).

The Film Festival

While the World Cup is enjoyed by football fans all over the world, the event, and in particular its organisation, has proved controversial in recent years. The bidding process, FIFA’s demands on hosts and the effects of staging the tournament on often economically challenged countries have all attracted widespread criticism.

In the week before the opening match of Brazil 2014, Amnesty UK, Picturehouse Cinemas and football quarterly The Blizzard are staging Sidelines, a film festival exploring issues around football and human rights. “The idea is to show that there is a real link between sport and human rights, and with the international sports industry probably one of the richest and most powerful in the world, to get people thinking about how it could and should use its influence as a force for good when it comes to injustice linked to sport,” says Amnesty’s Naomi Westland.

The films on show, she says, “deal with themes of identity, conflict, solidarity, racism, political upheaval. The festival will be like a whistle-stop tour of the world through football – from the Spanish Civil War to South Africa under apartheid, from the Arab Spring to a Buenos Aires shantytown, from the world’s newest country South Sudan to, of course, football-mad Brazil – all have produced remarkable stories.”

As well as the films, there will be a series of panel discussions on themes such as racism and homophobia in football, the responsibility major sports bodies have to challenge human rights abuses in host countries and women in football. “Major sporting events offer an opportunity to shine a light on human rights abuses happening in the country where they are being held or in participating countries, but the events themselves can lead to human rights abuses too,” Westland says. “Major sporting bodies like FIFA are very powerful and influential. We would like to see them taking human rights into consideration when awarding countries their tournaments, we’d like them to look at how workers are treated, how free the population is to peacefully protest against injustices they see around them, how people will be treated if the authorities decide they need the land where they live for development to allow the event to happen. Because these major tournaments are often awarded years in advance, big international organisations should use their power and influence to challenge injustices happening in and around their sport.”

The Sidelines film festival will feature football documentaries from around the world. Included are: Coach Zoran and his African Tigers, a film about football in South Sudan; Goals for Girls, the Story of Women With Balls; One of the more high-profile documentaries premiering at the festival is Looking for Rio, an investigation into the culture and history of football in Brazil directed by Eric Cantona and his two brothers Joel and Jean-Marie; Sidelines also includes a double-bill of Informe Robinson, the Spanish documentary series presented by former English professional Michael Robinson. The Children of the Habana tells the story of the evacuation of 4,000 children to Southampton during the Spanish Civil War, some of whom went on to become the first Spaniards to play professionally in England, while The Hour of Africa looks at what the 2010 World Cup meant for South Africa. See full details at amnesty.org.uk/issues/Sidelines:-Football-film-festival

 

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