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WE MUST GO: Bob Bradley & Copper Pot reflect on year with the Pharaohs
Here at King Fut, the upcoming documentary We MUST GO filmed by Copper Pot Pictures has us on the edge of our seats. The documentary chronicles the journey of the Egyptian National Football team and American coach Bob Bradley as he attempts to lead our national side to its first World Cup since 1990.
The following is a WE MUST GO exclusive with coach Bob Bradley reflecting on his first year in charge of the Pharaohs:
We sit down with Copper Pot to learn more about the team and the film so far…
Copper Pot Pictures. Quite an interesting name there. We’re pretty sure our readers would love to know the idea and people behind the name.
CHAD WALKER: Copper Pot Pictures is made up of three of us: Dave LaMattina (Director/Producer), Clay Frost (Producer) and me (Director/Producer). We’re all children of the 80s and love movies and pop culture from that time. When we were sitting down trying to come up with a name of a company, we had this massive list of all sorts of things–initials, inside jokes, names of our pets. Nothing seemed to fit. Then, we threw out the idea of Copper Pot, which is a reference to one of my favorite movies of all time, GOONIES. In that film, there is an explorer/treasure hunter named Chester Copperpot. Of course, he doesn’t make it as far as the film’s heroes and meets his untimely demise at the hand of a booby trap, but we loved the name. We felt like it captures that spirit of adventure and hope that we want our movies to contain.
WE MUST GO seems to be a documentary chronicling Bob Bradley’s journey with the Egyptian National team in their bid to reach Rio 2014. Tell us more!
DAVE LaMATTINA: Well, the first thing we should say is that it is not just about Bob Bradley. Obviously, we come to this story as Americans, so our initial interest was based on an American coach taking the reins of an Egyptian team. It’s a fascinating fish out of water story. Of course, American audiences will identify with Bradley and want to see his journey, but as soon as we started this project, we realized it’s about so much more than one man. Truthfully, we’re still getting our heads around the complexities of Egyptian football and politics. We do not want this to be a film about an American coming to the rescue of the Egyptian football team. Making that film would be a disservice to the team, the coach and the people of Egypt. We are just so fascinated by the Pharaohs’ story. We plan to film with them until the end of their World Cup campaign, be that in qualifiers or in Rio.
Egypt, Football and Bob Bradley. Quite an eclectic combination that at first could prove so wrong, yet it seems so right. Why do this documentary? Why now?
CLAY FROST: We are blessed to be able to make films about topics that we are interested in. Typically, one of us hears about a story like this, then we start talking about it–not necessarily as fodder for a documentary, just more of something that we’re fascinated by. Inevitably, someone suggests that the topic would make a good film. If a story grabs hold of us as this one has, we have to make a doc about it. As for the why now, I think there are any number of political reasons we could give about this being a unique time in relations between America and the Middle East, but the answer is quite simple: the story is happening now.
DAVE: The story for us is whether or not Egypt makes the World Cup and how that affects the nation. Forgive me for using an American reference as a point of comparison, but to me, this has always had qualities similar to the United States’ “Miracle on Ice” hockey team. We are currently watching history unfold and playing witness to the transcendent power of sport–we feel privileged to have this opportunity.
What do you hope to gain, both on a personal and professional level, from successfully completing this project?
CHAD: We’ve already started to see personal gains. None of us had ever traveled to Egypt or the Middle East before starting this project. As we’re all quite aware, the images of the region that come through on the news aren’t always flattering. It’s not that we took those depictions as truth, but it was quite a profound experience to travel through Egypt and talk with everyday people. Our brief time there has already began to paint a rich portrait of the country and the people that is much different than what we see on the news. Professionally, we have been looking for a good football story to tell. The three of us all grew up playing the game and really looked to combine our love of film and football into a documentary. We couldn’t have asked for a better story to mesh these passions.
What are your aspirations during the production of the documentary? Who do you want to reach and do you expect you’ll achieve that goal?
DAVE: Our aspiration is not just to capture the story as it unfolds, which is relatively simple, but for both us as filmmakers and our audience to leave the film with a true understanding of Egyptian football, culture and history. It’s become clear to us that those three things are intertwined. So, in order to understand the importance of World Cup qualifying to Egypt, we believe it’s important to understand the mindset of the Egyptians. Getting that across requires more than just shooting matches and post-game interviews. It’s a lot of work and research. But, I believe that if we achieve that–and I think we will–the casual audience member will truly experience the highs and lows of the Pharaohs’ campaign.
CLAY: Our audience, honestly, is primarily the American movie-going public as that’s our market. That said, at every turn, we ask ourselves, “How would an Egyptian perceive this?” We are very wary of making this an Americanized view of a story Egyptians hold dear. We hope to return to Egypt with WE MUST GO and have our toughest audience receive it warmly.
Tell us about some of your experiences in Egypt so far.
DAVE: Our last trip was such a whirlwind that saw us shooting throughout Alex and Cairo. For me, one of the more interesting experiences was shooting an outdoor Muslim prayer. I come from a small town where there are no mosques, and though I live in NY now, all religions are fairly private and confined to a structure. Because of this, I was somewhat hesitant to film the prayer, knowing that if someone walked into my church that I didn’t know, set up a camera and started filming me, I’d be upset. But people were so welcoming and allowed us to film their private ritual. I was very honored to have had that experience.
CLAY: So far our experiences in Egypt have been great. The country has such an unbelievably long and rich history and its people have been overwhelmingly kind to us. We were shooting a demonstration in Tahrir Square the day that Mubarak was sentenced and it was the first time we’ve ever attempted to capture anything like that. It was a charged environment and it was a bit nerve-wracking at first. As we settled in and as the people continued to treat us so well, we were able to enjoy an amazing shoot. At one point, I was trying to get up on a concrete pedestal about 3 or 4 feet high and a couple men helped me up. They then proceeded to ask me what we were filming and why we were there. Communication was difficult as only one spoke a little English but they were adamant about telling me how men like him, as he pointed to his beard, don’t hate Americans. He was glad we were there and was excited that we were helping document such an important time in their history. We were really grateful to be able to film that day and experience such warmth from the Egyptian people.
Egypt has been in a state of mixed fortunes recently, both on and off the pitch. How do you see Bob Bradley fitting the equation and what can he add?
DAVE: I think what Coach Bradley adds is stability and focus. We had the chance to catch up with him after the Pharaohs flamed out in the African Cup of Nations and his demeanor was calm and collected, as it always seems to be. He has one goal: get Egypt to the World Cup. His focus on this never wavers. Tactics aside, Bradley’s steady hand at the helm is what the Pharaohs need. I think because he’s an outsider in the world of Egyptian football, it is easier to maintain this focus and I think it will pay dividends to the Pharaohs.
What should audiences, and especially Egyptian ones, expect from the finished movie?
CHAD: It’s always hard to say what a documentary will be when it is done, especially if you’re following a story as it unfolds. That said, what we hope Egyptian audiences see in the finished movie is a fair, accurate and uplifting portrait of the Pharaohs–not just a profile of an American coach. We want this to be an all-encompassing film about this remarkable team.
Is this movie targeted just for the football fans around the world and Egypt, or is it more of global showcase of Egypt using Bradley’s escapades in the Egyptian National team?
DAVE: As you’ve alluded to, Egypt has had mixed fortunes of late. Yes, this is a film that focuses on football, but really, the Pharaohs are an embodiment of the hopes and struggles of the nation. They are the symbol for a country in transition and we think the emotions the team experiences transcend soccer. Of course, football fans are going to be the ones most interested in this, but we believe that WE MUST GO’s reach will extend beyond the casual football fan.
This film has the King Fut team extremely excited; especially after watching the trailer! We look forward to working with your team on this project in the near future and can’t wait till its released (after we qualify to the 2014 World Cup, we hope). We wish your team, and of course, Bradley and the Pharaohs the best of luck in your adventures. Because seriously, WE MUST GO!
DAVE: It’s an honor to be working with you. We love what you guys do and rely on your site daily for information about Egyptian football!
Watch the trailer for WE MUST GO below and sign up here to stay up to date with the film and it’s releases.