When the documentary “Journeyman Finds Home – The Simone Rota Story” was unveiled at the Uptown Ultra Cinema in Taguig, the event also marked the partnership of Football for a Better Life with other sports development programs. The film is presented by Davao Aguilas FC.
Football for a Better Life (FFABL), which aims to empower the youth and uplift their lives through the sport of football, is the main proponent of the documentary. Co-directed by Albert Almendralejo and Maricel Cariaga, the docu chronicles the personal struggles of Azkals’ player Simone Rota— from how he was adopted by an Italian couple, to how grew up and played football in Italy, and then returned to the Philippines to join the national team and search for his biological mother.
Since the “Journeyman” work-in-progress was shown last September 2017 at the Cine Europa Film Festival in Shangri-La Mall, the filmmakers have added new footage and interviews. Says Albert Almendralejo, “We have added the grassroots programs that led to the establishment of the Youth Football League and included the Azkals game where Simone was called back to the national team. There is also new information about the lady whom Simone believed was his long-lost mother.”
The premiere event also presented the two sports programs that FFABL is supporting: Women Empowerment through Sports (WEtS), an international youth project whose local organizer is the NGO Bridging the Gaps, and Mindanao1 Futbol, a talent identification mission in Mindanao led by national player-turned-coach Percy Guarin.
“Sport empowers women and develops values in children. This is the advocacy of Football for a Better Life and serves as our humble contribution to national development,” states FFABL founder and president Mr. Almendralejo.
“Journeyman” is set to compete in the European Philippine International Film Festival, which will be held from March 7 to 9 in Florence, Italy. “Journeyman” is also slated to screen in the Sinag Maynila Film Festival, and in the 17 regional football association areas where the Mindanao1 Futbol talent identification search are being conducted. “We are happy to offer all proceeds of the Simone Rota special film screenings to endeavors that promote sports to women, kids and orphans, particularly to Women Empowerment through Sports, Mindanao1 Futbol and Buklod Kalinga sa Kapwa Foundation,” says Mr. Almendralejo.
In a statement, Bridging the Gaps (BTS) said that the support is a boost to their goal of “developing, testing, and spreading new educational methodologies for young women empowerment through sports…” BTG has chosen Simone to be an ambassador of their cause.
For Coach Percy Guarin, the tie-up with FFABL complements his program’s vision. “That is to touch lives through football and give kids plenty of opportunities to play and express themselves and discover new skills.” In particular, Coach Percy said that the “Journeyman” docu is going to be an inspiration. “Seeing the movie of Simone will give children hope that someday their dream will be a reality.” The film is supported by the Philippine Italian Association, Elan Vita Diagnostic Solutions and Puma.