A Gateshead filmmaker has announced plans for a new and very personal project - and she is asking Newcastle United fans for their help.
Zahra Zomorrodian produced the successful comedy, ‘The Stagg Do,’ which was shot in Northumberland and released in 2014.
Her next film will be a documentary about Newcastle United’s upcoming season but almost all the action will take place away from the pitch, focussing instead on the fans’ match day experiences.
As well as looking for a small number of fans to be the main focus of the film throughout the season, Zahra is also asking supporters to become ‘camerafans’ and to contribute their own footage of match day.
Zahra, the film’s producer, explains: “This film is very much about fans, not football.
“I find it fascinating trying to understand what makes men and women, all over the world, care so much about Newcastle United.
“Why do fans get up in the dead of night to travel to away games, or watch the match on telly from the other side of the world. Those are the stories we want to explore.
“The idea came to me when I was talking with a Liverpool fan about Rafa Benitez and how different everything about the club feels this year. There’s a positivity which has been missing for so long and I want to capture that.”
The documentary’s working title is ‘We Are The Geordies’ and it will feature an unusual mix of professionally filmed interviews and footage, interspersed with ‘camerafan’ footage.
‘We Are The Geordies’ will be directed by James DeMarco, while Keith Bell (‘Dog Soldiers,’ ‘The Descent’ and ‘Harry Brown,’ which starred Sir Michael Caine) will be executive producer.
It is not a Newcastle United project, however, the club is very positive about the concept of a film about its fans and has offered support wherever possible, including access to St James’ Park.
Zahra continues: “Technology today means that almost everyone has a phone they can record and share HD video footage from.
“Ten years ago, what we’re proposing wouldn’t even be possible but now we know there are thousands of potential ‘camerafans’ at every game. People who can film a short bit of their match day and share that with us.
“You only need to look at YouTube and see the thousands of videos of football fans chanting, celebrating and doing all the daft things that make up a match day.
“The energy and excitement in some of those videos is incredible and we want to include that raw energy and passion in this film.”
As well as documenting both home and travelling black and white support, ‘We Are the Geordies’ will also explore NUFC fan clubs around the globe, capturing the fanaticism of fans living thousands of miles away from St James’ Park.
Given the short time before the start of the season, Zahra is keen to move things as quickly as possible and she is asking Newcastle fans, wherever they are based, to get in touch and help spread the word.
Zahra adds: “What we really need now is for fans to get on board. We’re looking for a number of supporters to become the core of the film as we follow them over the course of the season. And they can be based anywhere in the world.
“Fans can also help by investing in the film through our Kickstarter and we’re trying to raise an initial £20,000 through that, though the actual budget is £300,000.
“We’re also talking to investors and the feedback we’re getting is fantastic. There’s a real sense that this is the right project, at the right time.
“We’ll be tracking supporters to the Burton Albions and the Rotherhams as Rafa tries to deliver us back to the Premier League.
“As a Newcastle fan myself, I’m not naive. Things feel positive now, and there’s a real sense we’re moving in the right direction, but anything could still go wrong for us.
“We don’t know what this season will bring and that’s the beauty of this film. All the drama, the highs and lows, are still unknown. I can’t wait to start filming and gathering together material from fans.
“My hope is that the film’s climax is our promotion but that’s out of our hands. As ever, as fans, all we can do is continue to support the team as we always have and that’s what I want ‘We Are The Geordies’ to convey.”
For more information, and to contact Zahra, please visit www.GeordiesFF.com.
Or follow the project on Twitter (@GeordiesFF) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/GeordiesFF).