Sheffield Doc/Fest has selected Diego Maradona, the forthcoming feature-length documentary from Academy Award and BAFTA-winning director Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna), as the opening film of the 26th annual UK festival.
Through more than 500 hours of rare footage, the 120-minute film documents the career of celebrated Argentinian football star Diego Maradona during his time at Italian Serie A club SSC Napoli. Upon his arrival in 1984, Maradona elevated the team to its most successful era in its history, winning the squad’s first ever Serie A Italian Championship in 1986–87, followed by a second league title in 1989–90.
The film will also chart Maradona’s struggles off the pitch, as he became a near-prisoner to the city of Naples, where the mafia held enormous influence, and suffered a 15-month ban for failing a drug test for cocaine before leaving SSC Napoli in disgrace in 1992 for Sevilla FC.
Diego Maradona will host its world premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival followed by its UK premiere at Sheffield.
“Asif’s aptitude for finding the personal face behind troubled brilliance shines through in immersive, never-seen-before archive footage,” said Luke Moody, director of film programming at Sheffield Doc/Fest, in a statement.”We’re proud to present the UK premiere of Diego Maradona as our opening of the 2019 festival.”
“Once again Asif has crafted a powerful, surprising and gripping story about an icon who we, and the rest of the world, already thought we knew everything about,” added Hamish Moseley, head of distribution at Altitude Films.
The full Sheffield Doc/Fest program will be announced on May 9. The six-day festival takes place from June 6-11.