Trinidad-born London-based short film director Juliette McCawley is currently in this country searching for that special 11-year-old boy or girl. She is looking for an 11-year-old who is friendly, articulate, with a great personality and a “vibrant spirit”. They do not have to be “the next Dwight Yorke” when it comes to football skills. The parents should also be supportive of their love for the sport.
The project is the brainchild of Mihalis Monemvasiotis, a Greek director and one of the key producers for Eleven. McCawley went to film school with Monemvasiotis and he asked her to come on board.
She explained that Monemvasiotis came up with the idea because he was disturbed by the racism shown to professional footballers in recent years and he wanted to do a project “to show how close we really are” and that there is no space for racism in sport. They intend to show the pure joy and love of the game and that it is a “beautiful, unifying sport”.
McCawley stressed that Eleven was not “just a movie” but the goals included showing what things impact 11-year-olds – whether crime, environmental concerns, politics, peer pressure – and how we are connected globally. The documentary will feature a day in the life of the 11 youths and the different factors affecting them, their friends and family. The other ten countries involved in the project are: Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Egypt or Israel/Palestine, Greece, Japan or China, South Africa or Liberia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The 11 stories will be combined into one 90 minute film. McCawley noted that locally a major factor affecting 11 year olds is the Secondary Entrance Assessment examination.
“The pressure of that sets the stage for life,” she said.
The producers decided to have a local director from each country as they would be the best representative. Trinidad and Tobago is the only Caribbean country to be featured in the project. Filming will take place over three days and will include where the child plays, goes to school, their friends, and at home with their parents. The main interview will be done in the child’s room.
The interviews with the children will follow the same questions and similar format. Each child will also be asked to write the story of their life and do a drawing of their ideal life, and the plan is that each will be compiled into a children’s book.
McCawley told Newsday that she was looking forward to working with children again. The lead actor in her short film One Good Deed, which was shot in Trinidad and featured in the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival at MovieTowne last year, was 11 years old and she described him as “a gem” to work with. The children will not be paid for the film but the costs will be covered for the child and a parent or guardian for a week of activities in London. One of those activities will be all 11 youths participating in a friendly football match and paired with a major league football player. They also plan to include celebrity football players to assist with narration on the film or support the campaign in some other capacity.
They plan to release the documentary around World Cup 2014 in Brazil. It will also be shown at international film festivals and screened in all the countries featured. McCawley noted that it was not often that Trinidad will be seen on film all over the world.
Interested parents should send a short paragraph on what would make their child a good candidate and a photograph to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submissions is November 7.