Goals and Screens: The 2024 Soccer Film Festival Blends the Beautiful Game with Cinematic ArtistrY

In March 2024, the beautiful game meets the silver screen at the 15th annual Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival, an event that has become a cornerstone for football aficionados and film buffs alike.

In March 2024, the beautiful game meets the silver screen at the 15th annual Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival, an event that has become a cornerstone for football aficionados and film buffs alike. Taking place from March 14-16 at the Football Cafe in New York City’s vibrant Lower East Side, this year’s festival promises to be an unforgettable convergence of football, films, and culture.

Owned by the esteemed former professional soccer player Kyle Martino, the Football Cafe not only serves as the venue for this illustrious event but also embodies the spirit of soccer community and culture. Its location in the heart of the city and its dedication to the sport make it an ideal setting for the festival’s diverse array of events, screenings, and panel discussions.

The 2024 lineup offers a global tour of soccer’s impact on society and individuals through a carefully curated selection of films. Highlights include “The United Way,” offering an intimate look at Manchester United through the eyes of legend Eric Cantona, and “The Home Game,” a heartwarming tale of a community’s quest for a usable soccer pitch in the rugged landscapes of Iceland. Another standout, “When L.A. Wolves Conquered the U.S.A.,” takes attendees on a nostalgic journey back to the 1960s, a pivotal era for professional soccer in America.

A centerpiece of the festival is the “Soccer and the Creative Mind” panel on opening night, featuring luminaries such as Suzanne McKenzie of ABLE MADE, Owen Blackhurst of Mundial, and Pablo Bayona Sapag of Club Eleven. Moderated by festival co-founder Greg Lalas, this discussion aims to explore soccer’s multifaceted influence on various cultural expressions, including fashion, film, and photography. McKenzie expressed her anticipation for the dialogue, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between creativity, sport, and community engagement.

The festival’s evolution from its modest beginnings in 2009 to a globally recognized event underscores its success in celebrating soccer’s cultural and social significance. With past events held in major cities around the world, Kicking + Screening has solidified its status as a premier platform for showcasing soccer-themed films and fostering discussions among fans, players, and creators.

This year, as the festival returns to its roots in New York City, it continues to champion the stories that illustrate soccer’s ability to unite diverse groups, inspire individuals, and challenge societal norms. With the transition to the Football Cafe as its venue, the festival is set to offer an even more immersive experience for attendees, blending the thrill of soccer with the transformative power of cinema.

As the 2024 Soccer Film Festival approaches, it beckons soccer fans, cinephiles, and cultural enthusiasts to partake in a celebration of the world’s most popular sport through the lens of film. It’s an opportunity to witness how soccer continues to shape and be shaped by the stories we tell, the communities we build, and the cultures we cherish. Attendees of the festival are getting ready to experience the global phenomenon of soccer like never before, where every kick, goal, and cheer is intertwined with the art of storytelling.

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