Dan Emery and Mathieu Wacowich played in punk bands together before splitting off to pursue their separate careers – film and engineering respectively. Then, in 2004, they saw a streaker during the Euro Cup final and it turned them both into documentary filmmakers for five years.
The streaker in question was Jaume Marquet (aka Jimmy Jump). ‘I’ve always remembered that from day one, when we were at the bar, it was a mixed reaction [to Jimmy]. Half the bar was laughing and the other half was kind of jeering and booing at the screen,’ says Wacowich. ‘That alone wasn’t necessarily incentive to make the documentary, but I knew that it was topical and controversial.’ Shortly after they watched Jimmy run into the field to throw a Barcelona flag at Luis Figo, Emery and Wacowich emailed him to ask about his motivation. He emailed back and invited them to come to Barcelona to speak to him in person.
Wacowich, the engineer, took the trip to Barcelona and began to get a view into the lives of ‘jumpers.’ The trip led to their short doc Jump! A Dreamer’s Day, about Jimmy and his reasons for continually jumping onto the field in the pursuit of fame. The doc won an audience award for Best Short Film at the Winnipeg International Film Festival and led to the creation of a feature doc on the culture of ‘professional’ streakers.
Emery, who was already a documentary filmmaker going into this project — he’s served as a local coordinator for the Quebec Chapter of the Documentary Organization of Canada — says the feature project took roughly three years and, while broadcasters loved the idea, finding funding was tough. ‘It’s the classic story of any first-time filmmaker,’ says Emery. ‘People loved the idea, but they didn’t know us and they didn’t know what we could do, and they didn’t know what we could deliver, if anything.’ They asked family and friends to lend them money to send them out to Barcelona to start the project and worked other jobs while working on the project part-time.
‘Luckily everyone we worked with was very interested in the story so they wanted to be involved,’ says Emery. ‘We were able to bring on really good people who helped us bring this film through to completion and they said, ‘If you make money on the film pay me then; if not I’m happy to have helped make it.”
The team spent years following Jimmy on his quest to jump onto the field at El Clásico, the largest football game in Spain, and talking extensively to dedicated streakers, such as UK jumper Mark Roberts who once streaked during a televised weather report and has streaked in more events than anyone in history. The documentary will be airing on the CBC digital channel Documentary. Represented by Film Transit International, Jump! has also been sold into Australia, New Zealand, Poland and Israel.