World Cup Of Filmmaking 2018

"Come Now, Now" we can all go for some Jason Derulo in our lives.  Today starts the 2018 World Cup in Russia!  This coming together of superior global soccer talent inspired me to create a World Cup of Filmmaking.  The fact that the US aren't in it allows for no biases.  Italy, The Netherlands, and Canada certainly doesn't help my filmmaker pool or the soccer pool for that matter.  Here is the World Cup of Filmmaking 2018.

Each nation is made up of a 5 person squad.  The squad has a Coach filmmaker and 4 Player filmmakers.  The coach selection is a veteran director who doesn't have to have been active.  Since i'm creating rules for this competition I'll go ahead and make this a gender free World Cup.  Each team will have at least one female filmmaker.  So what will a team look like?  Here is what my all female United States team would look like.


Coach – Kathryn Bigelow, Players: Patty Jenkins, Sofia Coppola, Dee Rees, Debra Granik.  This list is my own personal faves and it was tough to leave ladies like Greta Gerwig, the force that is Ava Duvernay, or the next wave folks like Reed Morano off the top 5.  And a tbt Dee in Texas

Each group below is broken down into 1-4 with the top 2 filmmaking squads moving on to the knockout phase.  The knockout phase mirrors the real soccer breakdown of Group 1A vs 2B, on down to H.  At the Quarterfinals I reseeded the rankings.  I'll breakdown the rationale with each group breakdown.  There is no formula to the ranking of each team.  Instead length between films, amount of work done, awards or honors, film festival play, and impact on one's country help evaluate the groups.  For certain countries political impacts have seen the filmmaking process difficult.  Saudi Arabia for instance has seen an extremely recent filmmaking world blossom.  Like in the real World Cup dead or retired super talent aren't on the teams (Hitchcock vs Kurosawa super teams).  Though a figure like Miyazaki is only recently retired (and that has been revoked as well) did make his Japanese team.  The British team had to be allocated an A and B squad simply because I couldn't decide!  Here is the 


GROUP A – Host Nation Group.

1. Egypt – Coach is Sharif Arafah  Players are Hala Khalil, Kamlah Abu-Zikri, Marwan Hamed, Mohamed Diab

Rich filmmaking legacy since late 1890s.  New wave of talent shining bright.  Coach isn't most well known but consistent. 


Another strong legacy of film.  Andrey Z and Timur have made names but Egypt edged out because of overall talent.

3.  Uruguay – Coach is Beatriz Flores Silva  Players are Fede Alvarez, Alvaro Brechner, Rodrigo Pla, Pablo Stoll.

Veteran female leads the team but its the talents of Fede horror ties and Alvaro's films that make this unit unique.

4.  Saudi Arabia – Coach Hany Abu Assad * Players are Haifaa Al-Mansour, Amr Salama, Ayman Zakaria, Saleh Fuad.

*Had to bring in a wildcard – Dutch/Palestinian director,and friend of Selig Film News to help lead this raw talent.

GROUP B – Mediterraneans and the Iranians Group 

1.  Iran –  Coach Abbas Kiarostami  Players Asghar Farhadi, Tahmineh Milani, Barbet Schroeder, Majid Majidi.

Abbas only passed away in 2016 and his legacy is that strong.  Talent like Samira Makhmalbaf or Jafar Panahi didn't even make the top 5. 

2.  Spain –  Coach Pedro Almodovar  Players Nacho Vigalondo, Isabel Coixet, J.A. Bayona, Alejandro Amenabar

Strong names but output and lack of future punch had Spanish just behind ambitious Iranian film world.

3.  Morocco –  Coach Samuel Hadida * Players Laila Marrakchi, Nabil Ayouch, Faouzi Bensaidi, Narjiss Nejjar.

*Iconic Producer is leading this team for his amazing connections. Young group representing an old legacy.

4.  Portugal – Coach Eduardo Serra * Players Pedro Costa, Teresa Villaverde, Miguel Gomes, Joao Pedro Rodrigues.

*Veteran DP/Cinematographer Serra is the coach and helps give ump to a rather limited film community that is growing.

GROUP C – Minor Group of Death

1.   France – Coach Jean-Luc Godard Players Claire Denis, Luc Besson, Michel Gondry, Jacques Audiard

Iconic Coach leading talented team.  Look who was left off – Oliver Assayas, Yann Demange, and Jean-Piere Jeunet.

2.   Australia – Coach Peter Weir Players Philip Noyce, Baz Luhrmann, John Hillcoat, David Michod, Gillian Anderson.

Leaving off the other folks of BlueTongue Productions – Joel Edgerton!, our good friend Fred Schepisi, legendary George Miller and Jennifer Kent.  Not to mention all those darn New Zealanders!

3.   Denmark – Coach Lars Von Trier  Players Nicholas Winding Refn, Thomas Vinterberg, Suzanne Bier, Lone Schefig.

A hell of a solid pick for 2022 World Cup!

4.   Peru – Coach Luis Llosa Players Claudia Llosa, Francisco J. Lombardi, Ricardo de Montreuil, Eduardo Mendoza de Echave.

Up and coming South American filmmaking community with rich history to find inspiration.

GROUP D –  Nollywood and Beyond

1.   Argentina – Coach Alejandro Agresti Players Gaspar Noe, Damian Szifron, Daniel Burman, Lucia Puenzo.

Lucia's father Luis Puenzo is a quality director as well.  Lucrecia Martel was extremely tough to keep off this team.

2.   Croatia – Coach Rajko Grlic  Players Vinko Bresan, Hana Jusic, Dalibor Matanic, Ognjen Svilicic.

Tough 1990s and 2000s have hurt this once European power.  Ognjen and Vinko are the yin and yang of the country's dramatic vs comedic battle.

3.   Iceland – Coach Baltasar Kormakur Players Dagur Kari, Runar Runarsson, Bragi Thor Hinriksson, Isold Uggadottir.

Commerically this is a viable winner but Croatia nipped past based on Academy Award nominations.

4.   Nigeria – Coach Tunde Kelani Players Kunle Afolayan, Kemi Adetiba, Olatunde Osunsanmi, Branwen Okpako.

Nollywood revolution has been a recent one, but it looks promising especially with the large number of European Nigerians and Nigerians in the US.

GROUP E –  Minor Minor Group of Death

1.   Brazil – Coach Marshall Brickman Players Walter Salles, Carlos Saldanha, Fernando Meirelles/Katia Lund, Natalia Leite.

Vast film history has highlighted Rio, Sao Paulo and much more.  Waiting on the next wave to showcase the next great filmmakers.

2.   Switzerland – Coach Alain Tanner Players Lionel Baier, Ursula Meier, Nicolas Wadimoff, Edoardo Ponti.

Many may have gone Serbia, but the depth of talent in Switzerland seems more legit for a breaking out of a new wave.

3.  Serbia – Coach Dusan Makavejev  Players Emir Kusturica, Goran Paskaljevic, Jasmila Zbanic, Srdjan Dragojevic.

Constant political turmoil and fear of more war/religious issues keeps the talent away from making films.

4.   Costa Rica – Coach Hilda Hidalgo  Players Esteban Ramirez, Paz Fabrega, Ana Endara, Alexandra Latishev.

Extremely young filmmaking community.  Women have taken center stage.

GROUP F – Group of Death!

1.   Mexico –  Coach Arturo Ripstein Players Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro, Patricia Riggen.

The 3 Amigos of Mexican Film is obvious whats sad is not including El Guapo of The 3 Amigos Alfonso Arau!  Or two of my favorite filmmakers the powerful writer/director Guillermo Arriaga and the funny Eugenio Derbez.

2.   Germany –  Coach Werner Herzog  Players Wim Wenders, Michael Haneke, Doris Dorrie, Christian Petzold.

Hell of a second unit too – Marc Forst, veteran Wolfgang Peterson (The Neverending Story – for gosh sakes!), Philipp Stolzl and Wolfgang Becker are all worthy.

3.   South Korea –  Coach Chang-dong Lee Players Chan-wook Park, Ki-duk Kim, Joon-ho Bong, So Yong Kim.

Easily could have won or finished second in most of the other groups.  Park, Bong and So Yong Kim could end up like the South Korean 3 Amigos.

4.    Sweden –  Coach Roy Andersson Players Lasse Hallstrom, Tomas Alfredson, Daniel Alfredson, Tamra Davis.

I know Tamra Davis is an American, but she is a total bad ass and one of my all-time faves.  Besides she would fit in with incredible music video director talent from Lasse Hallstrom with Abba and Jonas Akerlund being awesome.  I left off Ruben Ostlund for gosh sakes!  Overall this team could easily have won some of the other groups as well.  GROUP OF DEATH STRIKES AGAIN!

GROUP G – The Brits, Belgians and the Bunch

1.   England –  Coach Ridley Scott / Danny Boyle  Players Andrea Arnold / Ana Lily Amirpour  Christopher Nolan / Sam Mendes  Stephen Frears / Martin McDonagh  Edgar Wright / Matthew Vaughn.

This is with folks not making the list like Guy Ritchie, David Yates (Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts), Tom Hooper, Joe Wright, Joe Madden, my buddy Simon Curtis and the kiddos – Duncan Jones, Alex Garland, Ben Wheatley, Jonathan Glazer.  Btw Kenneth Branagh is Irish.  I know many folks look at the McDonagh bros as Irish but they aren't.

2.   Belgium –  Coach Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne  Players Felix Van Groeningen, Erik Van Looy, Dominique Deruddere, Chantal Akerman.

Talented new wave on the verge makes this a really exciting team on the football pitch and behind the camera.  And the Dardenne Brothers sure do help!

3.   Tunisia –   Coach Nouri Bouzid  Players Abdellatif Kechiche, Leyla Bouzid, Nacer Khemi, Moufida Tlatl.

Solid female presence in a hidden African filmmaking gem.  

4.   Panama –  Coach Pituka Ortega-Heilbron  Players Edgar Soberon Torchia, Miguel I. Gonzalez, Abner Benaim, Enrique Castro Rios.

Super raw group of filmmakers, but Panama has a strong early voice.

GROUP H –  Sneaky Fun Group

1.   Japan – Coach Hayao Miyazaki  Players Takashi Miike, Hirokazu Koreeda, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Naomi Kawase.

Animation icon with a wild group of talent.  Tried not to get some of the old vets still around.  

2.   Poland – Coach Agnieszka Holland  Players Pawel Pawlikowski, Wojciech Smarzowski, Tomasz Wasilewski, Lukasz Palkowski.  

Extremely talented squad with the success of Pawel's IDA and Holland's long history.  The Roman Polanski issue was tough to keep off.  He did shoot The Pianist in Poland.  Ton of talented documentary filmmakers and cinematographers.

3.   Colombia –  Coach Oscar Ruiz Navia  Players Ciro Guerra, Carlos Moreno, Gloria Nancy MonslaveAndres Baiz.

A ton of young talent looking to tell some wild stories.  Chance to be a real player in 2022.

4.   Senegal –  Coach Abderrahmane Sissako * Players Moussa Sene Absa, Mansour Sora Wade, Haile Germina,*  Safi Faye.

Some of the country's icons have passed.  * Using two fellow African directors to fill out the roster.

KNOCKOUT STAGE:  A quick visual slideshow of how the knockout stages will breakdown.  

The Quarter Finals Breakdown  –  C1 vs D2, A1 vs B2, B1 vs A2, D1 vs C2, E1 vs F2, G1 vs H2, F1 vs E2, H1 vs G2.

Once again that means.

France VS Croatia, Egypt VS Spain, Iran VS Russia, Argentina VS Australia, Brazil VS Germany, England VS Poland, Mexico VS Swiss & Japan VS Belgium.  

Enjoy the slideshow that showcases the winners of the 16 round I reseeded for quarterfinals, so ENGLAND is #1 seed and on down.  You can see in the video the breakdown.  Then the final four squads battle to a final duel of our two top film teams.  

It came down to the talented 3 Mexican filmmakers vs the depth of the English team.  The recent successes on the biggest of stages gave Mexico to slight nod to victory.  The female filmmakers had me nearly sway it back to England, but I kept thinking of those darn 3 amigos.

Mexico WINS!!!

Hope you enjoyed my wacky World Cup of Filmmaking 2018.

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