Will Clarke’s Altitude Films is hoping lightning strikes twice by re-uniting with director Asif Kapadia on Maradona, a feature length doc about the brilliant and controversial Argentinian footballer Diega Maradona. Working with Kapadia will be his Amy collaborators James Gay-Reese and Chris King. Altitude released Amy, about the tragic singer Amy Winehouse, in the UK and helped turned it into the highest grossing Brit documentary of all time with grosses of £3.76 million. Altitude will handle international sales on Maradona and has also taken UK rights.
Maradona is being fully financed by Julian Bird’s Lorton Entertainment. Maradona’s football career is legendary. One of the greatest players of all time, he is the only footballer in history to set the world record transfer fee twice, first when he transferred to Barcelona for then a world record $7.5 million and later when he transferred to SSC Napoli for just under $10 million. At that time, the Naples team had never won a major tournament but their supporters were fanatical in their passion. The charismatic Argentine quickly led them to their first-ever title and he was celebrated as a god by one of Europe’s wildest cities.
Also on-board as producer is Paul Martin, who recently made Ronaldo, about Portugese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. The filmmakers will have access to hundreds of hours of never-before-seen footage from Maradona’s personal archive. John Sloss’ Cinetic will rep the domestic rights.
“I’ve long been a fan of Diego Maradona, I was taken by his character, his genius, honesty, passion, humour and vulnerability,” said Kapadia. “I was fascinated by his journey, wherever he went there were moments of incredible brilliance and drama, he was a leader, taking his teams to the very top, but also many lows in his career. He was always the little guy fighting against the system, against the wealthy, the powerful and he was willing to do anything, to use all of his cunning and intelligence to win. I first wanted to make a film about Maradona even before I directed Senna, so I’m very excited to have this opportunity. Diego is the greatest player of all time but with flaws and weaknesses, his life was one of extremes, but somehow, ever the street fighter, he has survived to tell the tale.”
“Asif, James and Chris have revolutionised the documentary genre,” added Will Clarke. “We’re delighted to be working with them again in the UK after the record-breaking success of Amy. Applying their inimitable style to an iconic sportsman like Maradona, will be every bit as compelling as we have come to expect from this team.”
Maradona has long been a source of fascination for filmmakers. The Oscar-winning director Emir Kusturica made Maradona by Kusturica in 2008, which featured interviews with the likes of Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Maradona himself.