Good films can promote sports: Jan Schwab

Panaji: A good sports film can actually promote a particular game but soaring budgets for such projects have kept smaller studios away from venturing into this genre of cinema, said renowned German film historian Jan Tilman Schwab. Schwab, who was recently in Goa to witness a package of soccer films at the 42nd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2011, said the trend of football films has been fluctuating in Europe.

"If we speak of Germany, the football films were at their peak during 2005-07 due to the FIFA World Cup hosted by Germany in 2006. But later the wave died down relatively," he said. Schwab, who penned a book titled `Football in Films-Lexicon of Football Films,` said, "if you really want to make a good football film, you need a hefty budget".

"The budget has to be around Rs 20-30 crore to produce a good quality football film. If you need an actor to play a footballer, then you have to train him in the game and if you take a real footballer you need to train him to act," Schwab quipped.

Observing that the cash constraints and restricted resources keep small studios away from exploring this genre, the film historian said, "big studios could produce football films as they could arrange actual matches to show in the film, while small studios have to think hard how to present matches that look real".

Referring to the small-budget studios who typically produce sport films on a shoe-string budget, Schwab said, "they avoid showing actual matches, but create an impression of a real match through scenes like someone listening to commentary on the radio".

The football films are regularly produced in the soccer-crazy countries like Germany, Brazil, England, Spain and Italy. He said that the football documentary films are being produced regularly but for a film to take shape, it needs a trend.

"Whenever something happens (in the field of football) those moments are captured in the form of documentary," he said, adding films like `Lessons of a Dream` directed by German filmmaker Sebastian Grobler created a football wave in Germany this year. The film is based on a coach who brought football to Germany, a country which now cannot be imagined without the game.

Schwab recalls that `The Miracle of Bern` directed by Sonke Wortmann captured Germany`s historic win of football world cup in 1954. The Germans got their first world title with the victory against Hungary. "Football films usually appeal to all ages. But recent films are appealing to younger audiences more than the older," he said referring to `Bend it Like Beckham` and `Shaolin Soccer`.