The Calgary Film Festival may not have the high profile of Cannes, or Sundance, but it certainly is an important stop for the Indy movie world. Making a movie is one thing, getting it on a Big Screen is a completely different animal! About .03 percent of movies make it to the Big Screen. For the numerically challenged that is 3 out of every 100 movies made.

Film making brothers Mike and Kevin Scullion are a tenacious team, as Kevin explained “Everyone tells you that it is not possible”, the Scullions in more way than one have proved that it is possible.

With a history in commercials, and other less than satisfying endeavours these, 40’ish brothers decided to try something new. While wrapping up shooting in Scotland they heard about the Homeless Soccer World Cup that was being held in Edinburgh. Kevin decided that, if nothing else, there was a news story. The brothers decide to follow one of the teams, but they are soon told “why are you following us, you are Canadian, why are you not following that team?

The brothers returned to Calgary and started a plan! With the help of Esau and Adam who at that time were involved with the Calgary Drop In Centre, they set about creating a soccer program. As Kevin explains “I have always loved soccer, this seemed a way to give back. We didn’t ask much, just turn up clean and sober, and I’ll supply the pop’s and snacks”

There was even a ‘prize’, Kevin had negotiated a deal whereby the best players would get a trip to Winnipeg to face off against the Ontario team, the best players being selected for Team Canada. As Kevin says “We weren’t looking for the next Pele, we were looking for people that had that level of dedication”

The end result was that 4 people from the Calgary Drop In were offered positions on the Canadian team, 3 accepted, and one declined. I hear you ask, ‘Who would not take a free vacation’? This is a difficult question to answer, but everyone has their own reasons.

Through true grit and determination the Scullions raised $30,000 and took out a ‘rent to own’ option on a $15,000 camera.  From Winnipeg  the next stop was South Africa. Ok, team Canada did not win, in fact they placed in the bottom quarter, I believe it was 35 out of 48. This may not sound so great, but Kevin explains “It is not about winning, it is about participating”. I asked Kevin about the level of competition, “Oh, it was very high indeed, some countries take this event very seriously indeed, the British team for example are coached by staff from Manchester United!”

With over 100 hours of footage the Scullions set about the daunting task of creating a 90 minute movie. The end result has its world premeire here in Calgary.

If you have the chance, try out the Downtown Dawgs on the 22nd. I will say this about this endeavour, I have been involved with the homeless for over 5 years, and you cannot fix everyone, but when you can get a few back into regular life you have won! Kevin and Mike have done that!  I am happy to report that most of the people involved with the Downtown Dawgs have started new careers, and maybe more importantly new lives.

Kevin and Mike are to be admired and congratulated for their tireless work to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

Simon Barrett

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