“I always wanted to do a project about football, but when I met AKS I realised that football is only the small door into telling a bigger story,” explains Maciej Ostatek of Polish production outfit The Raban Foundation about his KFF CEDOC project AKS ZŁY – Born to be Bad?
The Polish AKS ZŁY is the dream rainbow club. Its women’s and men’s teams are treated equally and welcome players aged 17 to 50 years of age, all of whom represent a large cross-section of professions, lifestyles, sexual preferences and economic circumstances.
As the notes for the film state, the games are attended by women, men, children, punks, hippies and supporters of bigger football clubs whose fans don’t usually get along together. ‘But at AKS ZŁY, everybody sings together and the whole project has proven that it is possible to play football without violence and divisions, without directors and shareholders, without political interests, without xenophobia and racism’.
There may be dissenters who believe that the AKS football project is overly idealistic and borderline Utopian, but Ostatek isn’t one of them, and in explaining his rationale hits on the universal appeal of his documentary.
“This is a film about dreamers, about hooligans of love, about those who want to revolutionise football culture, I’m sure not only in Poland but everywhere,” he says.
The timing seems to be right as well as AKS basks in the warmth of UEFA recognition as the best European amateur sports club incorporating men’s and women’s teams (awarded in 2019).
The film’s protagonists include an Arab/Israeli Catholic coach, who is also an accountant, and the Vietnamese financial analyst Duc (pictured centre above) who, by all accounts, is somewhat tasty with a football. “Then we have two girls who met each other at the club, fell in love and got married in Scotland, and are now waiting for a baby,” says Ostatek.
Should the corona crisis have eased by then, the producer is looking to shoot for a year (possibly extended for a few months) starting in September, coinciding with the start of the new season.
And at Krakow FF he is looking to raise interest among international broadcasters, sales outfits and festivals. “I think it will be a film about Poland in 2020, about how our people, our very characteristic protagonists from different nations, different races, different sexual orientations, come together inside a group and fight, not with aggression but with love for the goals they hope to fulfil,” he concludes.