On Thursday 1 March, leading independent film director and University of Westminster postgraduate student, Victor Buhler, held an exclusive screening of his new film, The Beautiful Game, which was produced in conjunction with and attended by Kojo Annan, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s son, and hosted at the University of Westminster’s historic cinema located in the heart of London’s West End.
“Soccer isn’t like a religion in Africa. It is bigger than religion” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The Beautiful Game is a character-based feature documentary featuring some of Africa’s greatest leaders including Kofi Annan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, FW deKlerk, along with football manager, Jose Mourinho and famous footballers Jay-Jay Okocha, Steven Pienaar, the Touré Brothers, Sulley Muntari, and Roger Milla to name just a few.
Co-Executive Producer Kojo A Annan talks to the crowd alongside Outreach Director Leke Adebayo and Film Director Victor Buhler at the preview screening of The Beautiful Game
The film portrays the inspirational power of soccer in modern-day Africa – a game that is helping to change the lives of individuals and communities across the continent for players, fans, young, old, with or without a disability, male and female. It interweaves a number of dynamic stories from six African countries: Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. Together these stories reveal how soccer can be an effective social and developmental tool and how the game can play a crucial role in shaping a new future for Africa.
Leke Adebayo, Associate Producer and Outreach Director of The Beautiful Game said: “The whole point of The Beautiful Game is to bring together the disparate parts To get out of the mentality of silos and embrace adhesive collectiveness. To achieve this, we need to re-calibrate our thinking, our actions and our very beings. The time to do so is NOW so let us embrace it with fierce urgency.”
Victor Buhler, director of The Beautiful Game and an LLM student at the University of Westminster, said: “In Africa, soccer brings 54 diverse countries into a common and passionate dialogue with tangible results. When an African country does well at a competition, its national GDP rises, its exports go up, crime decreases, and political divides narrow. We hope to show audiences a vision of an Africa that is too rarely seen: an Africa that is ambitious, resourceful and united. While there are challenging scenes in the film, our overall message is positive.”
A special video featuring Kofi Annan played before the screening of the film.
Kofi Annan, former UN secretary-general, said: “Football has a uniting capacity for an Africa that has been divided in many ways. To have something that brings us together, unites us, across generations, across culture, is an exciting thing. To play football effectively and successfully, you need to acquire certain skills. One is to play as a team, to learn to play as a team. You also learn to accept the rules of the game, and you need to learn to accept decisions of the referee. These are all skills that are necessary in nation-building. I learned some of these things on the pitch as a boy, and these lessons have stayed with me all the way through.”
The Beautiful Game showcases the spirit of Africa through music, imagery and soccer. Four years in the making, the “The Beautiful Game” team has travelled across the continent collecting unique and inspiring stories about soccer and looking at how deeply a sport can impact and unite a continent.
Co-Executive Producer Kojo A Annan speaks with Right to Dream Academy representatives Anna Hegley and Waid Ibrahim
The event supports one of the films key charity partners: the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana, an organisation that nurtures young underprivileged talent in Africa. Through their elite training programmes, international education, personal development and leadership philosophy they nurture talent into future role models for Africa.
Kojo Annan, co executive producer added: “With passion and the love for the game, we can bring Africa together as one”