The third part in the Streetkids United feature documentary series Streetkids United III – The Road to Moscow, began shooting in Chennai India last week, prior to moving to Moscow for the main event. The film, a co-production between Dublin-based Film and Music Entertainment (IRE) Ltd and Dutch outfit JaJa Film Productions is made in association with Bernd Out and Amsterdam based Made for Digital (post facility). Prajesh Sen from India is the associate producer of the documentary.
The third Street Child World Cup kicks off in Moscow today (Thursday) ahead of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. Over two hundred street-connected children from across the world will come together in Moscow for their own international football tournament, festival of arts and Congress for their rights. On the pitch both boys and girls, will represent 24 national teams and play to change the negative perceptions and treatment of street children everywhere.
Directed by veteran documentary and feature director Jacco Groen, the film will be produced by Jamillah van der Hulst and Conrad Alleblas for JaJa, Mike Downey and Sam Taylor for Fame (IRE). Van der Hulst, Groen and Downey first collaborated on the fiction feature multiple award winning festival hit Lilet Never Happened, the story of a child prostitute in the Philippines. Fame and JaJa have also worked together on Streetkids United II – the Girls from Rio, Paul and more recently Mariam Khachvani’s Dede and African prison documentary Fighting for Life.
We started the series with a focus on the plight of kids in Durban in South Africa, and then took the narrative in the second part to Latin America, focussing on the winning Brazilian girls team. This year we stick with the girls and follow a feisty team of young female footballers from the streets of Chennai in India. The third Street Child World Cup will kick-off in Moscow ahead of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.
Mike Downey, Producer and CEO – F&ME
Over two hundred street-connected children from across the world will come together in Moscow for their own international football tournament, festival of arts and Congress for their rights. On the pitch both boys and girls, will represent 24 national teams and play to change the negative perceptions and treatment of street children everywhere. As with the other Streetkids United films – the aim is to help the young people to make their voices heard, calling for the rights of millions of children surviving on the streets worldwide.
I’m proud that we have managed to start filming Streetkids United III again. Together with our crew in India we have made a great start and we will continue now with our Dutch team in Russia. Our goal has always been to give these street children the platform that they deserve and we know that with this documentary they will touch a lot of hearts again.
Jamillah van der Hulst, Producer
As well as working in close collaboration with the with the Street Child World Cup organisers, the production is embedded with the Karunalaya charitable organisation. Team India is supported by Karunalaya Social Service Society, an NGO dedicated to the rights of street children in Chennai City. Since 1995, Karunalaya has been supporting and reintegrating street children with their families in many states of India, even to neighbouring Nepal. Karunalaya offers shelter, sports and arts activities to street children and pavement-dwellers, and advocates for the empowerment of Chennai’s most marginalised communities.
“They are tough women,” says D Kannadasan, who coached the team for more than a year. A former street child himself, Kannadasan had represented India at the Street Child World Cup held in Brazil in 2014. They are naturally strong mentally and physically. Life on the streets does that to you,” said Kannadasan, who fled from his family in Vaniyambadi. “All they needed was to channelise this the right way,” he said.
Team India will represent their country and speaking for the rights of street children. Some of the children selected are school drop-outs and a few are sole bread-winners for the family. For instance, Sneha (15 years old) is a class 9 drop-out and works in a shop that weaves mosquito-nets for babies. Her mother has stopped working and her father is an alcoholic. Her aim is to finish Class 10 and she is happy about the opportunity to participate in the Street Child Games, as she will be flying for the first time; but it was very difficult for her to get a passport. Street children don’t have an address.
Moscow 2018 will be held in association with Save the Children and co-organised with leading Russian telecoms operator MegaFon. Twenty-four national teams will the comprise the entrants for the tournament, including from Tajikistan, Belarus, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Egypt, England, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda, USA and Zimbabwe.
The World Cup project has been met with approval from a string of famous names including Pope Francis, Pele, Prince William, David Beckham, Lionel Messi and Sir Alex Ferguson. Prior to his hospitalisation this week, Ferguson praised the initiative for providing “a level playing field” for street children and orphans, which the UN estimates at around 150 million worldwide.
The Street Child World Cup is at the heart of football, providing a level playing field to street children who have for too long been marginalized.
Sir Alex Ferguson
The first Streetkids United feature had its world premiere in Generation at the Berlinale. The second part kicked off on home turf at the Rio Film Festival with the whole Brazilian team in attendance.
Fame (IRE) is currently in post production on How To Sell a War and Ivan I. Tverdovsky’s Jumpman at the Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin. While work has begun on their latest adaptation of the legendary Arthur Machen’s fantasy masterwork Hill of Dreams in which young aspiring writer seeks beauty through literature but is lured by a femme fatale into a visionary world of fantasy and nightmare in Victorian London. Machen has inspired artists and writers as far and wide as Michael Powell and Mick Jagger, from “Lost Boy” Peter Llewellyn-Davis to former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams as well as being a huge influence on director Guillermo del Toro. Also in the late stages of development is an adaptation of the novel Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker which is currently being adapted by playwright Chloe Moss; a Czech/Ireland/Slovak production with Sarka Cimbalova’s Marlene Film of Charlatan directed by Agnieszka Holland, a version of the Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall, as well as Streetkids United IV.