Eric Cantona’s new documentary to feature at UK’s first football film festival

The UK premiere of former Manchester United legend Eric Cantona’s compelling new documentary about the passion and fury surrounding football in Rio de Janeiro will take place at Amnesty’s first ever football film festival just before the start of the World Cup in Brazil.

The festival, which runs from Friday 6 - Sunday 8 June at Hackney Picturehouse, will be a celebration of thought-provoking films, lively Q&A's and panel discussions, aimed at bringing the two worlds of football and human rights together.


The festival is a partnership between Amnesty International UK, Picturehouse Cinemas and football quarterly The Blizzard.


Cantona’s hour-long documentary ‘Looking for Rio’ charts the development of Rio’s four main football clubs – Fluminense, Vasco de Gama, Flamengo and Botafago – the intense rivalries between them and the social context in  which they came into being. The film looks at the complex relationship Rio has with football where government spending on the World Cup has forced Brazilians on the streets in protest.


The screening will be followed by an ‘in conversation’ with Eric Cantona and his brothers Joel and Jean-Marie, who together form the ‘Canto Bros’ production company behind the film.


Eric Cantona said:


“I love Brazil and the Brazilian people. It is a fascinating, wonderful country and there is probably no other place in the world as crazy about football. In that way it is the perfect location for the World Cup, but it is also a country that has a lot of problems - poverty, racism, not enough money spent on schools, hospitals and public transport - and all of that needs to change for Brazil to be the world player it seems to want to be.


"Documentary film can be a very powerful way to explore and expose what's going on in a country - the good and the bad – by showing people important issues they might not otherwise get to see. It can add also to international pressure for change. I really hope ‘Looking for Rio’ does both."


Other documentaries to be shown at the festival document the ups and downs of the Egyptian national side during the Arab Spring, the non-Jewish Ajax fans in the Netherlands who call themselves Jews, Spanish Civil War refugees who became the first Spaniards to play professional football in England and the Argentinian women players fighting for recognition by their families, friends, clubs and the country’s Football Association.


Panel debates over the weekend will look at racism and homophobia in football, the responsibility major sports bodies have to challenge human rights abuses in host countries and women in football.