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Football Under Cover

Football Under Cover

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The American Film Institute/ Discovery Channel Documentary Festival known as SILVERDOCS began this week. Today and tomorrow we're talking to filmmakers from the festival. We begin with Football Under Cover.* Co-director Ayat Najafi is an Iranian inspired by soccer and girl power. After seeing a documentary about a German women's soccer team, he takes on the challenge of setting up a women's soccer match between Germany and Iran — in Tehran. His co-conspirator, Marlene Assman, happens to play for a local Berlin team. They head to Tehran and meet with some intimidating officials to get permission for visas, advertising, a venue, filming... Ultimately, they score against the Iranian bureaucracy's red tape and play under the watchful eye of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. For Iranian women, soccer means freedom and power. They are not allowed at stadiums to watch games and are not allowed to play with uncovered arms or legs — or without headscarves. One Iranian player disguises as a boy when she practices at a park. Football Under Cover is about women finding empowerment in a society with limited rights. And if you've found empowerment through sport or have played under a strident regime — tell us your story.

(*As many of you know, what we Yanks call 'soccer' most of the world calls 'football')