Documentary ‘Tao –Fighting for Football in China’ premiered in Groninger Forum

The Groningen Confucius Institute (GCI) organized the premiere screening of the documentary
‘Tao – Fighting for Football in China’ at the Groninger Forum on 10 October at 7.30 p.m.

After the GCI’s Wenjia Xu delivered her opening speech, Michiel Ebbing, the documentary’s director, gave his own talk, entitled ‘Football to the rescue: Making sense of China’. During his talk, he used four maps to show the differences between the Netherlands and China, clearing up some Dutch misconceptions about the country. Ebbing explained that he has made friends through football and that the sport has brought him back from the depths of despair, inspiring him to create films about football and, in doing so, creating an opportunity for Western audiences to learn more about China.

GCI teacher Wenjia Xu hosting the premiere

Michiel Ebbing giving his talk

The documentary tells the life story of Tao, a passionate football coach in Beijing, who is fighting to give football a chance in modern Chinese society. The lack of playing fields, serious air pollution and heavy study pressure are all reasons as to why football is facing such a dire situation in China. Tao is trying hard to ignite a passion for football in the younger generation, to help them to better themselves despite all of these challenges.

During the Q&A following the documentary screening, the audience asked questions about football in China. Some were curious about football’s current standing in China, while others came up with the idea of combining fan culture with football. Ebbing agreed that a football icon was necessary, who could be to football what the former basketball player Yao Ming was to basketball.

Ebbing answering audience questions

The audience giving an interview

The Groningen Confucius Institute (GCI) has been working with Ebbing’s team for two years, during which they translated all of the documentary’s subtitles. The GCI thought that the football documentary was a nice story that would allow Western audiences a deeper insight into contemporary Chinese society.

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