Belfast Telegraph

The new NI football movie that Fifa thought was real footage

By Amanda Ferguson

It's one of the most glorious chapters in Northern Ireland's rich footballing history – and now it's coming to the big screen.

Football world governing body Fifa has given the thumbs-up to a new film which explores our famous exploits at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico against Brazil.

Former international footballer David Campbell brought 'Shooting for Socrates' to show to Fifa bosses in a sneak preview in Zurich – and they were so impressed they thought they were watching real footage from the time.

Londonderry man Campbell (48) is a consultant on the David and Goliath-themed movie shot at locations across Belfast and Spain last year.

"Fifa got a preview and enjoyed it," David said. "We still have four to six weeks of work to be done, but a lady from Fifa loved the footage we created and thought it was from BBC or UTV."

The moviemakers helped recreate the Spain, Algeria and Brazil matches of 1986 to make it real for the actors.

"We used actors and professional footballers, including players from Spanish club Hercules," David added.

The story from New Black Films focuses on the excitement generated when Northern Ireland, the smallest nation to ever play in the global sporting competition, took on the might of Brazil.

Penned by acclaimed Belfast writer Marie Jones, Shooting for Socrates is expected to be released ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil starting on June 12.

Exploring the momentous time in Northern Ireland's football history through the eyes of players, fans and the media, the film stars Four Weddings and a Funeral actor John Hannah as former Northern Ireland manager Billy Bingham.

Good Vibrations actor Richard Dormer plays east Belfast father Tommy who loves football and Greek philosophy. His son Arthur is played by Donegal child actor Art Parkinson, whose credits include Game of Thrones, Red Mist and Dracula Untold.

Conleth Hill, who has starred in the Oscar-winning The Shore as well as Game of Thrones, plays legendary sports broadcaster Jackie Fullerton and Enniskillen actor Ciaran McMenamin (Made in Belfast, Jump) portrays 1986 Northern Ireland captain Sammy McIlroy.

David Campbell recalls making his debut against Brazil, and encountering the legendary player Socrates (de Souza), the "biggest player I've ever seen in my life".

"All these guys were 6ft bloody 2, all giants, particularly Socrates. He came walking up and I thought, 'how cool is this guy'? He turned to me and then the noise in the tunnel hit me – it was incredible," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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