Kicking + Screening soccer film fest returns with new, bicoastal edition

For nearly a decade now, two New Yorkers — MLSSoccer.com’s Greg Lalas, and film industry veteran and financial industry professional Rachel Markus — have curated a marriage of soccer and film called the Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival. This year, it returns, as usual, to New York, but fresh for 2017, this go-’round is also bicoastal. 

Through its nine-year history, K+S has added growing list of international cities to its itinerary, including events in Abu Dhabi, Copenhagen, Liverpool, and Portland. This year, they’ll offer a four-night run starting June 6 in New York at Scandinavia House (58 Park Ave.), and then an August sojourn (with exact dates, locations, and films still to be finalized) in Los Angeles. 

Though the festival is never quite the same from year to year, the pun in the title hints at its common thread: movies that are about and celebrate the beautiful game. This year’s New York festival, under the banner of “no boundaries,” will feature four movies covering soccer in four different parts of the globe. 

“We’re still working on bringing the festival to people year after year because the films we find are unique,” said Markus. “It’s never boring; the conversations the movies generate are different from festival to festival, but we have people who come to every night of the festival, to be part of this community and to have these conversations.” 

The opening night movie, Inside a Volcano: The Rise of Icelandic Football, documents the Iceland men’s national team that rose from obscurity to a World Cup-class FIFA ranking and a distinguished performance at the 2016 Euros. 

Filmmaker Sævar Gudmundsson approached team officials in 2014, as they were preparing for Euro qualifying, with the idea of making a movie chronicling their run. Gudmundsson reports they were initially resistant to the idea, fearing that cameras would interfere with the process of preparing for qualification. 

But the coaches consulted…

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