News: Passion River Films Sets Release Date for The Workers Cup

Passion River Films has acquired The Workers Cup, and set the release date for the feature documentary, which premiered opening night at Sundance. The Workers Cup is set inside the labor camps of Qatar, where the 2022 World Cup facilities are being built on the backs of 1.6 million migrant workers. The film debuts June 8th in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Monica Film Center, and in New York City at the Museum of the Moving Image.

In 2022 Qatar will host the biggest sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup. But right now, far away from the bright lights, star athletes and adoring fans, migrant laborers from Africa and Asia toil exceedingly long hours for scant salaries, and live isolated in work camps which are by law kept outside city limits. By day they sweat to build the World Cup, but at night they compete in the “workers welfare” football tournament, playing in the same stadiums that will one day host the world’s greatest players.

The film follows one team of men from Nepal, India, Ghana, and Kenya whose only common ground is their love for football. Each match offers them a momentary escape from the homesickness and isolation they endure as the lowest class in the world’s richest country. Ultimately, the complicated relationship with sport is revealed, as we see its power to unite and divide society by turns.

Over the course of the tournament the men alternate between two startling extremes: they play heroes on the football pitch - but are the lowest members of society off the field.The Workers Cupexplores universal themes of ambition, aspiration and masculinity, as we see the men wrangle hope, meaning, and opportunity out of dismal circumstances.

The Workers Cup epitomizes the best and worst of the World Cup,” says director Adam Sobel, “It features all the sweat, blood, tears and cheers of the game and shows how soccer can be used to unite and divide people. So there’s no better time to release the film than during the 2018 World Cup. While celebrating the matches in Russia, I hope people take a moment to reflect on the workers toiling behind the scenes in Qatar whose lives are being sacrificed for the sake of the next World Cup.”

The Workers Cup is Sobel’s feature film debut. Sobel has produced television and journalism around the Middle East for outlets including The Guardian, CNN and ITN, including directing a series on Mt. Everest, following the first woman from Saudi Arabia to reach the top. The film was produced by Ramzy Haddad and Rosie Garthwaite, with Dennis Paul and Paul R. Miller serving as executive producers.