As hundreds of millions of soccer fans around the world are well aware, soccer is enticing, exciting and addictive. But who ever thought soccer could cure domestic violence, rampant in Rio de Janeiro’s shantytowns or favelas? As sports editors, bloggers, writers and reporters search for amazing sidebars in the run up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup here’s a story that is just as compelling as soccer itself.
“Becoming Papa” travels an arduous journey with two men who live in homes riven with domestic violence as they transition to living violence-free. They join amateur soccer leagues that also offer group therapy. With the help of other men in similar situations, they explore their propensity for violence and free themselves from it. The documentary follows the work of NGO Promundo, which offers free membership in an amateur soccer league as long as men attend regular workshops and/or therapy sessions. Not only do men aver violence, they become loving caregivers of their children, partners and wives.
The story is set against the backdrop of Rio’s hyper-masculine, hyper-violent culture. Children are exposed to violence, rampages and murders outside of the home, as well as constant fights inside the home. They dodge bullets fired by favela drug gangs, petty criminals and even police carrying automatic weapons. Police wrest control of the favelas from the drug gangs back to the government. Rio’s so-called Pacification movement was launched in advance of the FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
This wild ride of a documentary, airing on PBS stations in the US and elsewhere globally shows the intersection between sports and culture in one of the world’s largest countries and most exciting cities. View the trailer for the documentary here. Full-length review copies and interviews with host Bonnie Erbé are available upon request.
To the Contrary with Bonnie Erbé is public television’s successful all-female news analysis series, now in its 23rd season. To The Contrary is produced by Persephone Productions Inc. To the Contrary airs in 91% of U.S. markets on PBS stations nationwide, in Canada, internationally on VOA-TV and streams globally on PBS Online. The program has won scores of journalism awards in its 23 years on-air. To The Contrary has also built a solid viewer base including more than a million viewers each week. Viewer response, media attention and strong carriage on public television stations confirm women (and their men) want intelligent talk and documentaries on issues affecting women, families and communities of color. For local airtimes, please visit http://www.pbs.org/to-the-contrary/airdates.