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Brandon Soo Hoo
Fascinating independent film featuring heart, soccer, and Kurdistan
Written, produced, directed, and starring Kordo Doski, this fascinating independent film gives you a close personal look at the people of Kurdistan, minus the usual troubled and stereotypical Middle East overlay. The story focuses on Mikael Kawa, once a promising young soccer star whose parents die in an accident leaving him to make poor decisions that cause his life's course to veer sharply from his dreams of sport. When the movie opens, we see Kawa as an office drone working for a nameless company in Los Angeles. His life has been nearly drained of all color and becomes even more monochromatic when his girlfriend dumps him and leaves.
At a life low, Kawa decides to find opportunity in his parents' homeland, Kurdistan, where he might be able to play for a prominent soccer club. Only one thing stands in his way, at first. He's an out-of-shape 33-year-old and an unlikely candidate to play top-level soccer. The film becomes a lens that stares mercilessly at Kawa's grasping, crawling attempt to climb back to the top.
That's the story, but there's a huge back story here. Doski and his good friend and co-star Jose Moreno Brooks are up-and-coming actors in real-life Los Angeles. They met in an acting class and share an intense love of soccer. Both have played at high levels. This film is their very real way of jumping their cinematic careers to a higher level. As a result, this is a highly personal film for both of them, which shows in the way the movie is lovingly crafted. The cast and crew overcame huge hurdles to make this film. Making a feature film in Kurdistan is no small feat even for a major film company.
I saw this film thanks to the San Jose Camera Cinema Club, which regularly brings gems like this to members' attention. It has yet to make the rounds at the international film festivals but it very much deserves a broader audience.
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