Exclusive Interview with Sebastian Podesta, Director of Going Pro: American Soccer
Sebastian Podesta is a filmmaker that recently filmed a documentary titled “Going Pro: American Soccer”, which is about the USL PDL franchise the Brooklyn Knights. Podesta, is the Founder/Director of Wonder Workshop Films and a graduate of the prestigious NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
SLI: What is "Going Pro: American Soccer" about?
SP: Going Pro is about the players and coaches of the Premier Development League’s Brooklyn Knights. It is a documentary that follows the team through their 2012 season. We get an inside look at how a group of professional soccer hopefuls come together as a team and compete in our country’s top amateur league.
SLI: What inspired you to make this movie?
SP: Growing up I wanted to be a professional soccer player, but by the time I was entering high school that dream was replaced by becoming a movie director. I didn’t follow the game much after that except for World Cups, but over the past 2 years my passion for soccer has become an addiction, and I love it as I did when I was a kid.
As a filmmaker I’m always on the lookout for movie ideas. In December of last year it crossed my mind that I could/should make a documentary about soccer to help grow the game here in the USA. As I became a soccer fanatic, I was upset how the American sports culture overlooked soccer. I love it so much and so would others if they only had the chance to see it the way I do. There is already so much soccer around us, but only if you make the effort to find it.
The first idea that came to mind was to go to Argentina, where my family is from, and to follow young soccer hopefuls. I thought that if I could get Americans to see how people love the game in a passionate country like Argentina, we could then get a sense of what soccer is all about. The logistics of going to another country to film something was going to turn itself into an obstacle that would kill the idea, so I began to look for a story here in the USA.
I then had the idea that if I followed a team and gave people an inside look at the game, they would be attracted to it. I also wanted to see more soccer programs myself, so this would satisfy that need as well. I began looking for a team to follow; after trying to get in touch with MLS teams and failing, I came across the PDL. Me being a soccer fan and never having heard of this league was a bad sign, and therefore figured that their story needed to be told. So I reached out to the Brooklyn Knights to see if they were interested in having me follow them, and right away we agreed that this was something we both wanted to do.
SLI: Which aspects of American soccer are you looking to cover that hasn't already been done before?
SP: My thoughts are that if soccer is to become as popular here as it is abroad, the system and its roots need to be known. People need to know that there is this great soccer culture here and it is growing, fast. Kids also need to know the path to being a professional. If a 7th grader can watch this film and be attracted to the dedication and joy of the game these college-aged players demonstrate, they will be more likely to stick with soccer knowing there is a future for it. If an adult soccer fan can see this film and witness the high caliber of talent on display in the PDL, they will go out and support their local PDL team. With soccer fans united, it will increase the appeal of soccer for everyone involved. That is the another great thing about the PDL, they are in over 70 cities across the USA.
I’ve never seen coverage of any of our country’s soccer development, and I think it is important for soccer fans, especially the youngsters to know that there is a lot of opportunity for soccer in this country. Growing up, soccer was disorganized and unclear in its direction. Today, the PDL is very accessible and will hopefully give the youngsters a tangible goal to pursue on their way to the professional ranks. At the same time, I hope to show the older fans of the game the progress this sport is making as well as quenching a bit of their thirst for soccer.
SLI: Were you able to reach out to Chris Wingert and others who've played for the Brooklyn Knights and go on to achieve success within American soccer?
SP: No, although I’d love to talk to him! This documentary isn’t about sharing the history of the league or interviewing people about their thoughts on soccer. This documentary is an inside look at the Brooklyn Knights 2012 season. I’m making it in a way that leaves the experience to the viewer. My thinking is that by revealing this “underground” team and story, people will become attracted to the game. I want to share my love and perspective of the game through an inside look at a team of players looking to go pro.
SLI: Where are you at in the process with the movie?
SP: Filming has wrapped and I am over a month into the editing process. I have over 140 hours of footage so I am still in the process of sorting and evaluating the footage. I am 2 weeks from having separated the good from the bad and the necessary from the excessive – think of it like a puzzle: I am putting together the borders and separating the colors. Once that is done, I will be able to assemble it quickly, and efficiently. I have hired a very talented composer who is already working on some amazing music for the film.
SLI: When will the movie be available and where will we be able to see it?
SP: I’m planning on finishing the film in January or February so that it may be released in time for the spring soccer season, and start of the MLS season. I have no idea where the film may end up – I would love to see it play on ESPN, but if not it will certainly be available online to order.