By Alexia Evripidou
CARLSBERG BEER and football’s role in bringing people together is the theme of a new ‘documercial’ which focuses on Cyprus as part of the brewery giant’s advertising campaign ahead of the World Cup which begins in Brazil on June 12.
Filming in the divided cities of Belfast, Ireland and an as yet undisclosed location in Kosovo, Carlsberg Denmark sent the Belgium-based film crew TRS Company to shoot the third part of the documentary style advert in Cyprus, the only location of the three with an official division. The football and beer documercial was shot over two days in April at Nicosia’s Ledra Palace and buffer zone area. Actors and crew members were employed from both sides of the island.
Carlsberg, the ‘Official Beer of The England Football Team and Wembley Stadium’, “had a specific motto in mind from day one for the documercial” said Constandinos Nikiforou, producer and founder of Caretta Films which produced the advert. The underlying theme for all three parts of the documercial was: “Football brings people together and also football unites.”
Resourcing the expertise of: local film production company Caretta, the talent of Cypriot football ‘passionistas’ from all over the island and the generosity of willing acting volunteers, the commercial works on the ‘tongue and cheek’ theme that “beer and football can unite people, no matter of borders or obstacles in the way.”
The low budget 90 second documercial is divided into three parts, one part for each country. The Cyprus footage features a group of men kicking a ball around until one accidentally shoots it over the wall into ‘no man’s land’, with the wall acting as an obstruction and dividing people.
The ball is then mysteriously kicked back to them and a friendly game of football commences over the wall and without the players able to see each other. All players then unite for a nice chilled bottle of Carlsberg beer. The same theme is repeated in the footage of the other two divided cities.
The special guest stars of the documercial, arguably are the two four legged football enthusiastic canines who, as well as behaving impeccably on the shoot, refrained from drinking the flowing Carlsberg beer that was on offer.
Nikiforou states that although it is not a political commercial, “it will bring awareness to people around the world and visually represent that the three European countries are still divided in 2014”. The documercial displays “a friendly game ensuing irrespective of the physical, political and social boundaries. The government and UN were very cooperative and gave all the permission necessary to support this project,” he said.
Nicosia is the only city out of the three, which has a buffer zone separating two communities. Caretta Films told the Cyprus Mail that using the wall was a “creative decision aimed to metaphorically represent the physical division between the two communities (even though it actually opens up to no man’s land)”.
Caretta, which has produced several bi-communal documentary projects, were delighted when chosen to produce this piece.
“It’s a very interesting story in a documentary style, which is why I took it on,” said Nikiforou. “Unlike commercials, this documercial is more factual based and uses a small crew: there’s no make-up and no tripods, it’s all natural. The actors have no fixed script and are free to express themselves within the story line, whilst we film.”
According to the ‘Urban Dictionary’, a documercial is a commercial disguised as a legitimate documentary. It is different from a commercial in that it runs for 90 seconds, which breaks the convention of the average 30 second slot.
Nikiforou was selected as an emerging producer for Cyprus 2013 by JIHLAVA International Documentary Film Festival from the Czech republic.
“We were happy to use Cypriots from both communities, I think the advert is exciting for Cyprus because it will show the world the status quo on this island,” he said.
The broadcasting campaign is due to start any day and will run though out the six weeks of the World Cup season.