Craig Tanner: FIFA’s White Elephants

… it also has the title ”The March of the White Elephants” written on the screen… is a well made tv-journalistic documentary about the incredible money sucking world football organisation FIFA that hopefully now will be re-born with a new structure and other leaders than Sepp Blatter and his gang.

The film, however, just completed, and sent to us by New York company Cargo Film & Releasing, does not have its focus on the corruption scandals of today, they are mentioned at the end as texts on the screen (the photo is from the arrest of one of the FIFA executives) – the film is a fine documentation of the way Brazil and its politicians played the game of FIFA, building new stadiums for public money that could have/ should have been spent to improve the living conditions of the poor people in the country. The stadiums were (many of them at least) built in areas of the huge country where the football culture is not that developed, stadiums that now stand empty and/or are being used for other non-football purposes.

The film is set up in the classical tv-journalistic way: Dilma Rousseff welcomes the world to Brazil and the best ever World Cup to be performed – cut to a favela next to a stadium in Sao

Paolo, where people talk about the theme of the official Brazil spending money on stadiums that could have been used to better life conditions for the favela population… Journalist Patrick Granja is the storyteller, the one  who has filmed the many and strong demonstrations that happened in 2013 in the streets of Rio and Sao Paolo. For football addicts like this reviewer chapeau for Romario, who analyses the corruption of FIFA and the government precisely, whereas Ronaldo stands out as ”a traitor” according to the demonstrators after he had formulated that you can not compare expenses for the stadiums to what could have gone to hospitals etc.

The synopsis provided by Cargo: The film reveals the real legacy of the FIFA World Cup – state of the art stadiums that were built to stage a four-week tournament will stand idle, soaking up funds needed for basic services and for health, housing and education. The filmmakers visit the sites of the last two World Cups, Brazil & South Africa, to get testimony from social activists who make it clear that FIFA is a modern day parasite abusing countries for the love of Football.

For me no doubt that this will be a film that could come to a tv channel near you!

USA, 2015, 52 mins.

Contact to Cargo Film & Releasing:



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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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