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Behind the scenes stories of producing the feature documentary, Streetball.

STREETSOCCER_DOC_23_  6822Streetball was funded by South African PBO (Public Benefit Organization) and United States 501(c)3 public charity From Us With Love (FUWL).  With little to no experience in the film industry, but a passion to share the triumphs and tragedies of the 2008/2009 South African Homeless World Cup Teams, Streetball began production in July of 2008.

FUWL asked filmmaker, Demetrius Wren to join them in South Africa in February of 2008 to photograph and make short documentary videos of their ongoing projects.  While spending time with the South African Homeless Street Soccer League, President, David Abrahams suggested that Wren make a full length documentary film about street soccer.  Wren shared Abrahams request with FUWL Founder, Michael Smith and Smith agreed.  Within a few weeks, FUWL approved funding for Streetball.

Streetball was made by a crew of only two. Demetrius Wren and Christina Ghubril shot, wrote, interviewed, directed, edited, photographed, sound mixed, researched, graphic designed, and composed the elements that make up the film under the direction of Executive Producer, Michael Smith, who also founded FUWL in April of 2007.

Thanks to modern technology, two 25 year olds with a lot of passion could complete a film in their living room.  Streetball was edited, sound designed and graphic designed on a Mac, using all Mac programs.

FUWL’s strong relationships with organizations involved with the street soccer league, gave Wren and Ghubril full access to the staff and players.  Wren and Ghubril would often leave the cameras behind and spend time getting to know the players and the Cape Town community.  The friendships that formed made it comfortable to hold conversational interviews and hang out at ease while a camera was around

Without a full crew or imposing equipment, Wren and Ghubril gained access into places and stories that are not often open to “outsiders” or media. Also, without Martin Africa, much of Streetball would not exist. He took Wren and Ghubril into locations that housed local gangs and to where many street people lived.  Once, Ghubril watched a man twirl a gun at them while filming in the Quarry but he put it down when he saw Martin with the crew.  On Long Street, Martin was told by some kids that if he wasn’t with the crew, they would’ve stolen the cameras.

Ghubril wanted to highlight South African musicians and artists in the film, to give context to the vibrant post-apartheid culture and generation. Wren was inspired by the “Take-Away Videos” — one-shot music videos of bands performing live in their community locations.  The two combined their ideas and brought South African musicians into the fabric of the film.

While finishing her undergrad in Johannesburg, Ghubril met Wandile Molebetsi of UjU, and would frequent UjU’s concerts each week.  Kgafela oa Magogodi was her professor at NYU and at the University of the Witwatersrand.  On her spring break in Cape Town, Ghubril visited the District 6 museum where she was moved by Faith47’s artwork.  Jitsvinger, the Rudimentals and ETC Crew, were found on myspace.  They all generously donated their time, music and artwork to From Us With Love for Streetball.  All proceeds from the film and soundtrack will go to fund From Us With Love’s ongoing projects to bring about hope in South Africa.