Los Angeles, CA - It has been said of Bob Bradley's tenure as Coach of Egypt's National Soccer team, that it could very well be one of the most important, positive decisions of any American in the sport - anywhere in the world. In the documentary WE MUST GO!, filmmakers Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker unveil just how true that statement may be.
SYNOPSIS: WE MUST GO! Chronicles the journey of the Egyptian National Soccer team and coach Bob Bradley as they fight to reach the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Egypt has one of the richest football histories in all of Africa, but despite its continental success, the team hasn't reached soccer's ultimate stage in 24 years.
Now, the Pharaohs and their American Coach, as unlikely a pairing as there ever was, have the chance to do more than realize their shared dream of World Cup qualification - they can unite a bitterly divided nation.
Bob Bradley has been managing soccer teams for over three decades! After being fired from the US National Team, Egypt called. Bob couldn't have been a better choice. Not solely for his exceptional ability as a coach, but also because of his willingness both to embrace the people of Egypt and to speak simply, truthfully, and with much forethought - regardless of the occasion.
Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker grew up playing soccer their whole lives. While attending the World Cup 2010, Dave kept Chad abreast of the events as they unfolded. It was in the stadium, as the US lost to Ghana, that LaMattina knew they needed to find a story that evolved around the wonder, excitement and energy of the World Cup.
When word came out that Bob Bradley had indeed signed on to coach the Pharaohs with the hopes of reaching the World Cup, WE MUST GO! was on.
Bradley and the Pharaohs were surrounded by numerous hardships. Not the least of which was the fact that the Egyptian National team had only been to the world cup twice, since 1934. We Must Go! deftly documents the "ifs" which swirled around both Bradley and the Pharaohs. If they could...in the face of uprisings. If they could ...with regime changes. If they could...under extraordinary circumstances - think the riots of Port Said - make it to the World Cup 2014, perhaps it could lead to an opportunity for differing groups to reach across the divide - if even for a moment.
Listen to the full interview with Filmmaker Dave LaMattina, director of the documentary WE MUST GO!
The IN Show had the opportunity to interview Mr. LaMattina. He was back home in New York, after having attended this year's LA Film Fest. (His documentary, I AM BIG BIRD, was a main feature on the LA FilmFest roster! You can read more about I AM BIG BIRD here.)
On how LaMattina and Walker chose the format of We Must Go!
It could have been a story about a fish out of water. We could have made it "all about Bob...Bob's story. Once we got into the film, we realized it would be a huge disservice to the people of Egypt to make the film about the great american white saviour coming in to lead their team to glory and instead it turned into capturing the experience of the egyptian people as a whole."
We Must Go! doesn't seem to necessarily be a documentary on soccer but more a documentary of interwoven lives and historical events. Did that just unfold as you were putting the material together?
"Yes!" We "always used the line that we were trying to use soccer as the lens with which to explain Egypt....it is so much bigger than soccer...you cannot separate soccer from politics in Egypt."
How was the journey of making the film for you? Approaching it with a soccer perspective, then coming across the story of the politics of it, was it a complete culture shock?
It was a "complete culture shock." We always say we approach "each one of our docs as a master class. We take a topic we know a little bit about or are just interested in and then we spend 2-4 years of our lives trying to learn everything we can about that subject." Being from small towns with little experience of Egyptian culture, "in many ways it blew our minds to be there in Egypt"...."as those events were unfolding."
WE MUST GO! is, truly, an exceptional film. LaMattina and Walker have successfully made a documentary that can be watched by anyone - from the casual to the hardcore soccer fan and even by the non-soccer fan! With fervor and eloquence, LaMattina and Walker brought the political intensity of the region, the immense enthusiasm of the Egyptian people for their soccer team, and the fine sportsmanship embodied by Coach Bradley and his players as they - and their country - faced as enormous obstacles as the Pharaohs strove to make soccer history.
We Must Go! is available now on iTunes, Amazon, and GooglePlay. Whether or not you're a sports fan, you will enjoy the story as it unfolds by Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker. It's more than a game...it's about the truest form of sportsmanship. What does that mean? Watch the film and find out!