FIFA film 'United Passions' makes muted debut in Los Angeles

Fri Jun 5, 2015 7:19pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Daina Beth Solomon

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - At the first screening of FIFA-funded film "United Passions" in Los Angeles the week after U.S. prosecutors charged several officials of world soccer's governing body, only two people attended - one out of curiosity, the other as a soccer fan.

The 2014 French film, starring British actor Tim Roth as FIFA president Sepp Blatter, had an estimated budget of 24 million euros ($27 million), of which FIFA officials have acknowledged providing about 20 million euros.

The film, which explores the 111-year history of FIFA, attempts to show the organization as a force for good while also hinting at corruption and embezzlement without delving into it.

The opening Friday on demand in the United States and in limited theaters coincides with a scandal rocking world soccer after prosecutors unsealed indictments on May 27 in a case involving $150 million in bribes over 24 years. Blatter announced on Tuesday that he would resign.

Francisco Carrillo, 62, said he came to the midday showing of "United Passions" at the North Hollywood's Laemmle theater, the only one in Los Angeles showing the film, because he is a fan of soccer, popular in his home country, Mexico.

"I like the World Cup, and the rules of soccer," he said. Carrillo said he had followed the scandal but came just for "entertainment."

Freelance sports writer Alex Goot, 31, said he was curious to gauge interest in the film.

"Even before the scandals and indictments unfolded, I wondered, who is the audience for this story? Even dedicated fans aren't going to care about FIFA in the boardroom," he said.   Continued...

Actor Gerard Depardieu (L) and FIFA President Sepp Blatter pose on the red carpet for the screening of the film "United Passions" at the 67th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes May 18, 2014. REUTERS/Yves Herman