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Published on February 27th, 2013 | by Seb

The 11-mm Football Film Festival

The 11mm football film festival (the name is a wordplay combining the German word for penalty, Elfmeter or 11m, and film gauges, which are measured in millimetres) was created in 2004 by a pair of football-enthused cinephiles, Birger Schmidt und Stefan Krankenhagen. I recently spoke to the 11mm operations manager Lars Schepull, who reflected on the festival’s growth.

“Even though their aim was to highlight the quality films that were being made in a genre that had little or no prestige in Germany,” said Schepull. “They never expected 11mm to become the world’s leading football film festival.”

While only British films were shown in that inaugural year, the following year saw a more international dimension to the festival with the addition of a couple of German films to the programme, and since then, films from all over the world have been shown.

This year at the 11mm Football Film festival in Berlin, it’s all about anniversaries. The festival, which runs from March 14th to 19th in the Babylon Kino, is celebrating ten years of existence with a look at 20 of the finest football films ever made – ten documentaries and ten fictional films based on football. A prize will be awarded to the best film in each category.

While the exact programme has not yet been set in stone, some of the highlights include Football Under Cover, a documentary about the Iranian womens team’s first ever game, against an amateur side from Berlin. The Other Chelsea, a look at the oligarch-funded fortunes of Shakhtar Donetsk (and the winner of last years’ Goldene Ball prize for the best film at the festival). And, Die Rebellen des Fußballs, a look at some of football’s charismatic rebels. One of the game’s most-loved mavericks, Eric Cantona, has expressed an interest in attending this year’s festival to present Rebellen. The controversial Frenchman’s presence would be confirmation of the burgeoning popularity and importance of the festival, and could even help to increase upon the 4000 people who attended last year.

As well as taking a look at the preparations for next year’s World Cup in Brazil, the festival will also be celebrating 50 years of the Bundesliga. One of the main attractions will be a highlights reel of some of the finest moments from that half-century, presented by football TV personality Heribert Faßbender.

The festival will also see the launch of the sixth issue of the Berlin-based English-language football fanzine No Dice. Now an official media partner of the festival, No Dice has been going from strength to strength since its launch in November 2011, and will present and invite discussion on one of the films at the festival.

For more information on 11mm, have a look at http://www.11-mm.de/.

@stephenglennon

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