Pablo Miralles, Michael Whalen, and Roberto Donati, three multihyphenate UCLA graduate film school alums, are currently in production on GRINGOS AT THE GATE, a feature documentary that explores US/Mexican relations and national identity through the lens of fútbol/soccer.
Noting that the neighboring countries have long been characterized by a huge disparity both socioeconomically and economically, the poorer Mexico has always prided itself on the strength on the fútbol field. But as the USA has strengthened its national soccer team, they are taking even this away – and in the process are leading to a conflicted sense of identity and allegiance for Mexican-Americans, caught between two cultures.
GRINGOS AT THE GATE is days away from finishing a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, and have currently more than doubled their $5,000 fundraising goal. Funds were originally intended to assist the filmmakers with travel costs to complete production, as well as post expenses, but the overwhelming success will enable them to add to these plans. To find out more and to consider making a contribution, click the link in this paragraph.
Some months ago, my friend, producer Diana Williams, put me in touch with the filmmakers for a meeting, and I was impressed by their approach to the larger story behind what could have been a typical sports documentary – with the problems endemic to such projects, ie, limited appeal to a self-selecting base of sports fans. While GRINGOS AT THE GATE will feature footage from games, which will no doubt appeal to these fans, the deeper analysis of the divide between the two countries across a number of factors will no doubt open the film up beyond a niche audience. Of particular interest is the consideration of the growing Latino/a-American population and how they perceive themselves relative to their home country and to the home country of their forefathers. I look forward to seeing how the project shapes up.