« Pikin Players » documentary film shooting start

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Pikin Players Boys

« Pikin Players » documentary film shooting start (April 2010 Event)
Documentary film produced by Chapter01 Productions in partnership with Education Without Borders. To make a donation click here
In Mid-November 2009, Chapter01 Productions went to Africa and to start shooting its new documentary film “Pikin Players. The documentary will follow the lives of 4 young soccer players who are hoping to continue their careers in Europe. Among the 4 selected, the documentary will focus on 2 or 3 of them. The goal is to share their story and struggle to achieve their dream. The documentary will focus on their journey from Africa to Europe. For the players, it is the beginning of an adventure full of hope and illusions, while for the Chapter01 Productions’ team, it is the beginning of their journey. To find out more, we met with director Logedo Rafael Soto.

Question 1: How is the shoot going?

It went well. The boys have a very good relationship with the filming crew. They trust us and behave very naturally in front of the camera, so we were able to film their routine and day by day life. We spent 1 month with them in Africa and now we are planning the next and probably final trip to Cameroon, to film them just before they travel to Europe.

Question 2: What difficulties are you currently experiencing?

Funding and access. A documentary like this involves a lot of travelling with a crew of four people, which is expensive. Organizing each trip to Cameroon requires a lot of work and planning, and finding the money is the most difficult thing always. At the same time, it is a delicate subject. It is not easy to get people in front of the camera, or the camera in the places we want it, but our efforts are paying off, and we are getting very good feedback. .Now, we have to decide when is the best time to go back to Cameroon for the final filming in Africa. We´ll go back for another month, and choosing the dates is crucial to capture the days before the boys travel to Europe. We don’t know yet when that is happening and the boys don’t either. Also, in Africa the rhythm is very different from here, and planning in advance is almost impossible. We have to concentrate and prepare to travel when the moment comes and with very little notice.

Question 3: Why only follow the story of 2 players when 4 were selected initially?

We chose three boys with very similar stories, but we don’t know how many of them are going to do the final trip to Europe or how their trip is going to turn out. Depending on how their stories develop we will focus more on those whose stories best suit what we want to portray in this film.

Question 4: We know that in the past, you have worked for Channel 4, BBC, Al Jazeera in English, and today you working independently on « Pikin Players. Is it easy to switch from Television to independent filmmaking, or is it a new challenge?

My previous work in television documentaries has been quite different from what I am doing now in Pikin Players. Television documentaries have a very specific format, and you are always limited by what the TV channel expects from you, as they have the final say on how the documentary has to be done. The director doesn’t have creative control. On television, you always work under a lot of pressure because deadlines tend to be tight and you are part of a bigger team. The good thing is that you have the support of the TV channel, which opens doors. Also, you don’t have to worry about looking for the money once the documentary is commissioned unless, of course, you spend your budget before finishing it.
Pikin Players works in a completely different way. It doesn’t have the format and length most TV documentaries have because it was conceived as a film
It is not produced or owned by a TV station, which means we have full creative control but it also means that we have to look for the money ourselves, which is risky.
As a producer in Pikin Players I spend most of my time looking for funding, collaborations and sponsors, and that is new for me, but Pikin Players is the type of project that needs to be made in that way, it needs time, patience and a passionate team in order to be able to portray what is happening with these boys.

Interview done by Thierry Dime Bolla

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