27 September, 20222. Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Pakistani director’s soccer documentary “Barefoot with Godfather of Soccer-Unwanted but Undaunted” awarded from the third annual Emerald Coast Film Festival, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, USA. Khalid Hasan Khan directed and produced the 35 minutes long soccer documentary. The sports documentary primarily focuses on the lives of soccer coaches, Ahmed Jan from Karachi, and Saifullah Khan, from Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: both mentor young talent with their scant resources.
Pakistan’s soccer documentary sparkles with an award win at the Emerald Coast Film Festival of Florida, USA
The director Khalid Hasan Khan said, “This is more of an interfaith dialogue than a soccer documentary, where the lives of footballers of both genders from the Hindu, Christian and Zoroastrian minority communities were captured with other underprivileged sections of the Pakistani society.” In this docu, Joyce Christina, a Christian footballer from the minority women’s football team, shared her story of on and off field discrimination. While, Jamshed, a footballer from the Zoroastrian community from Karachi Parsi Institute, gripes about the dearth of football fields in the city of lights.
Amarsee Magji Paria, a priest of Harijan Manohar Temple and a former footballer, from Narain Pur, aka ‘the Little Bombay of Karachi’; said that “sport turns a man into a human being.” Pakistan’s trailblazing soccer reporter Shazia Hassan, who took over the beat of football reporting, after a great deal of hustle, also recounted her story.
The film includes interviews of teenage players from Lyari; known as Mini Brazil and the heart of Karachi’s soccer; where the budding players find it hard to play the game at Kakri ground, thanks to illegal encroachments, inside the ground. Saifullah Khan, a coach from Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, narrated how he mentored a local young rickshaw driver, in fulfilling his dream of becoming a soccer goalkeeper, when his friend from Sialkot generously donated a football kit, at his request. He said people from the North Waziristan’s tribal region, bought tickets to watch a locally organised football tournament in Miranshah, North Waziristan. The gun-wielding spectators agreed to attend the matches without their firearms, when the announcement was made that “if armed spectators tried to enter the stadium, the match would be abandoned”. According to Khalid Hasan Khan, football is not just a sport but it bridges the gap between people of different faiths and classes along with providing a wholesome entertainment to the new generation by eliminating intolerance from the society.”
Dianna Chenevert, the visionary festival founder of the Emerald Coast Film Festival, in her message wrote, “ Let’s help make a positive difference in the world together via film, recognize filmmakers, and encourage them to make more inspiring content.”
Khalid Hasan Khan told “it’s a hat trick of awards for ‘Barefoot with Godfather of Soccer-Unwanted but Undaunted’ which has already won two awards; one from Global India International Film Festival, Mumbai, India, 2022 and Tagore International Film Festival, Bolpur, India in 2021; besides, official selections from Clapperboard Golden Festival, Brazil, High Tatras Film & Video Festival, Slovakia and Kings Cross Film Awards, United Kingdom.”