Documentary about Azkal Simone Rota set for premiere

ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 22, 2017 02:36 PM
Documentary about Azkal Simone Rota set for premiere
“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who made this project possible…I hope that the movie will be an inspiration.” - Simone Rota

After three years of interviews, research, and filming, the documentary “Journeyman Finds Home: The Simone Rota Story,”  will be unveiled at the Cine Europa 2017 Film Festival on Sunday, September 24, 2017.

This documentary made by Albert Almendralejo and Maricel Cariaga tells the inspiring tale of footballer Simone Rota who was born in the Philippines and was adopted by an Italian couple when he was a baby. 

As a little boy growing up in Milan, Italy, Simone learned to play football. His hard work and prowess earned him a place in an Italian professional football club. Simone later gave up his life in Italy to return to Philippines and play for Filipino clubs (Stallions FC and Ceres FC) and the Azkals, the Philippine Men’s National Football Team. His main reason for staying in the Philippines is to play football and to search for his biological mother.

“Journeyman” chronicles how the sport changed Simone’s life and led him to his roots.  

“Dreams do come true!” declares Simone who currently plays for Davao Aguilas FC. “I want to say a big thank you to everyone who made this project possible…I hope that the movie will be an inspiration.”

The sports documentary is the first venture directed by Albert Almendralejo who produced the football-themed docus “Little Azkals” and “Pangarap Kong World Cup,” and the feature films “Tumbang Preso” and “Bakal Boys.” Albert says that he was motivated to tell Simone’s story because it offers hope amid difficult times. “I have worked closely with him in promoting grassroots football " Albert says of Simone.  “and his life truly embodies determination in spite of the odds.” 

The version to be shown at Cine Europa 2017 is still a work-in-progress but very much presents the subject’s heart and soul. The docu, which was shot in Italy and the Philippines, includes interviews with Simone’s adoptive parents Maurizio and Marilena, Davao Aguilas FC teammates Phil and James Younghusband, and Sister May and Mother Flora (who were the nuns that took care of Simone as a baby).

“Journeyman” also shows the athlete’s more private side, such as his volunteer work at Buklod Kalinga, the orphanage where Simone was left as a baby by a young woman. 

“Journeyman Finds a Home: The Simone Rota Story,” is produced by SPEARS Films and Luna Studios. It is co directed by Maricel Cariaga, whose film "Seven Sacks of Rice" won recently the grand prize in the Aichi Women's International Film Festival. Award-winning screenwriter Clodualdo "Doy" del Mundo is the creative producer. The September 24 screening is part of the educational component of Cine Europa, the annual film festival of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, and is presented by the Philippine Italian Association (PIA), Shangri-La Cineplex, Davao Aguilas FC, and Puma. Theatrical release is being planned for December 2017.

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