Red Bull Studios (RBS), one of the producers behind the electrifying documentary “The Real Mo Farah,” have set their next project, titled “The Moment: How Sports Changed the World,” Variety can exclusively reveal.
Directed by Tom Jennings of 1895 Films, “The Moment” is a feature doc that explores the lasting repercussions of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, which was controversially held in South Africa at the tail end of apartheid. At the time, the South African national team (nicknamed the Springboks) had only one Black player – Chester Williams – but ended up winning the tournament in a moment that united the country (pictured above is Mandela congratulating Springbok captain François Pienaar following their win).
“The well-known story is that Nelson Mandela really took a risk with [hosting the Rugby World Cup in 1995] because the Springboks were seen as symbolic of apartheid and they were loathed in South Africa outside of the white nationals,” Red Bull Studios’ global head, Bernadette McDaid, tells Variety. “[Mandela] decided that the rugby tournament could be used as a way to unite the country in the shadow of apartheid. It was very risky. And, of course, as we now know, he succeeded.”
“The Moment” follows the story of that tournament, and the discussions around it, through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which saw the Springboks beating England to again win the tournement, this time with Siya Kolisi, the Springboks’ first Black team captain, at the helm.
In Jennings’ signature style, the entire documentary has been created from a contemporaneous archive, without any narration or interviews. It also contains never-before-seen and rare archive footage.
“It’s a lovely way of taking this snapshot in time, digging into the story behind it, and then showing how the past influences the present,” McDaid explained.
Although currently a stand-alone feature doc, RBS have indicated they are so happy with how “The Moment” has turned out they are exploring making it the first of a series, each one examining a different sporting moment that was pivotal in instigating seismic societal change. They are currently speaking to broadcasters and streaming partners to co-finance a series.
McDaid executive produces “The Moment: How Sports Changed the World” while Sarah Hume is the production executive and Deborah Henderson the head of business affairs. Jennings directs and produces.
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