RIYADH: The Saudi football film “Champions” delivers a beautiful message on humanity and people's behavior.
It follows the journey of Khaled, a temperamental and arrogant assistant coach of a successful professional Saudi football team.
His rage leads him to disciplinary court after a particularly frustrating match. He loses his high-profile career, suffers a major blow to his ego, and his community service turns out to be coaching an amateur team of players who have learning difficulties.
But he realizes how much he needs to learn from his new team when they respond to his poor attitude with good humor, friendliness, and innocence.
The movie stars Saudi TV presenter and actor Yassir Al-Saggaf, who plays Khaled, and Saudi actress Fatima Al-Banawi, who plays the role of Khaled’s fiancee.
“The movie was filmed in Jeddah and we faced challenges because of the pandemic,” Al-Saggaf told Arab News. “We had two phases for filming it: One before the pandemic and one after. Everyone who saw the film wanted to jump in to help show the movie. I would like to thank the Film Commission and Ministry of Culture for showing the film at Dubai Expo 2020.”
Al-Saggaf said all the actors with disabilities in the movie were acting for the first time, adding that they did a “great job.” He hoped they would continue working in the entertainment industry.
The family-friendly movie is light and funny. There are plenty of laughs because of how the characters see life and the way they want to have fun and enjoy the moment.
It was directed by Manuel Calvo and produced by the Oscar-winning Andres Vicente Gomez.
Gomez said he did not want to use professional actors to portray people with special needs as it would contradict the film's purpose.
“Through their sense of humor, kindness, and respect, the boys are great actors, and the film and its main characters set an example for the rest of society,” he said.
The movie, which is scheduled for release on March 10, is a remake of the Spanish film “Campeones,” one of Spanish cinema's biggest breakthroughs in the last decade.
“Champions” has attracted a lot of attention because of its uplifting message, as well as its attempt to change people’s perception of those with special needs.