Kicking It: Sundance Film Fest 2008 (World Premiere)

Sundance Film Fest 2008 (World Premiere)–“Kicking It” received its world premiere at 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Director Susan Koch and producer Ted Leonsis offer an intimate look at homeless athletes who find a greater goal on the field.

“Kicking It” chronicles one of the most unique sporting events, where 500 homeless soccer players from 48 nations traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to represent their countries in the 4th Annual Homeless World Cup. The players have been knocked down by life, hailing from war torn Afghanistan, the slums of Kenya, the drug rehab clinics of Dublin, Ireland, the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, the overflowing public shelters of Madrid, Spain, and the shadow culture of the illegal rural immigrants to the big city of St. Petersburg, Russia.

The film follows seven players as they compete on the soccer pitch to become champions while overcoming poverty and addiction showing that a ball truly can change your life.

Soccer is the worlds most popular sport and played in virtually every country around the globe, while homelessness is one of the worlds most pervasive problems, said Susan Koch, Director. When you bring the two together, lives can be transformed. We found extraordinary people who for the first time were given the chance to stand tall and not be invisible.

Koch is an Emmy and Peabody award winning filmmaker. Her 2007 film “Mario's Story” premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival where it received the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. “Kicking It” was co-directed and edited by Jeff Werner. Neil Barrett was Director of Photography.

AOL Vice Chairman Emeritus Ted Leonsis, whose first documentary Nanking won one of the major awards at the 2007 Sundance Festival, said of Kicking It, Films can bring people together, and amplify passion. We are thrilled to help spotlight these compelling individuals and to show sports powerful ability to give hope, focus and balance to us all.

Those characteristics, which Leonsis has termed filmanthropy, led a number of notable Washington-area business and charitable leaders to join him on the project. Executive Producers include Rick Allen, Randy Boe, Joe Edelman, Mark Ein, Jack Davies, Raul Fernandez, Sheila Johnson, Nigel Morris, and Soroush Shehabi.