IRONHEAD is about a young football team which is gaining attention in China: the Shaolin Kung Fu Football Team. Their method of playing football combines the traditional ball sport with elements of the ancient Chinese martial art. While playing, they apply techniques like the Shaolin Iron Head or the Shaolin Tornado footwork, but they also adhere to the official FIFA rules of the game. Training with elements of Kung Fu is meant to improve the players’ strength, condition and flexibility. Shi Yanlu is a Shaolin Kung Fu master and the founder of Kung Fu football. He believes that this new training method is very promising and could help lead China’s up-and-coming players to international recognition. A huge Kung Fu football school for 10,000 students is being built, funded with 200 million euros from a major Chinese company. What are the hopes and dreams of these young students? Is Kung Fu football really as promising as it seems? And what will become of the Kung Fu football students? Can they really become professional players?
TIAN DONG was born in 1984 in China. He studied Music in Nanjing before studying Media Art at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne from 2009-2015. A selection of his films includes: the shorts STREIT IM BETT (2010), DIE SCHULD (2011), DER MITBEWOHNER (2012), ADAGIO (2015), DREI (2016), and the documentaries DAS NEUE LEBEN (2012), GAO KAO (2014), SEIDENSTRASSE (2015), and EISENKOPF (2017).
Berlinale 2017 (Perspektive Deutsches Kino)