I love sports movies. Anything with some level of competition and interesting characters, I’m a sucker for a sports film. That’s what caught my interest for the new documentary The Holy Game, which has a great added human interest element. The documentary tracks a few different priests in seminary in the Vatican who are competing in that year’s soccer championship in Rome in a tournament just for priests, called the Clericus Cup.
Priests first and athletes second, I imagined older priests when I first heard the premise; but there are commonly thirty-somethings and even younger priests, as they’re in seminary and still having to be ordained. The film mixes a lot of the soccer, as well as honest conversations about priesthood and why they wanted to be priests. This is told through several interesting characters, all competing for soccer glory.
For The Holy Game, I was able to speak with the film’s co-directors Brent Hodge and Chris Kelly, as well as one of the film’s documentary subjects Father Michael Zimmerman, now a priest in Boston. This was also the first time I had a priest on my podcast The Filmcraziest Show, so that was rather neat.
In the conversation, we talked about what got the directors on the film, some of the background for the Clericus Cup and its fanbase, deciding what voices from which best team could best help tell this story, finding the audience for the film, filming the sports scenes and a lot of other conversation topics in between. As well, Father Michael talked about his reactions to watching the film for the first time.
You can watch the conversation above on YouTube, listen to it directly below or go here to download the conversation. As well, The Holy Game is available to stream on Crave TV in Canada and is available on digital formats through Gravitas Ventures, where you can watch the film on places like Vimeo.
As well, you can find a series on YouTube presented by Vocations Boston featuring Father Michael Zimmerman here. As mentioned in the interview, one of the participating priests, Father Duarte, has also released a music album that can be found here on Spotify.
*Podcast music courtesy of bensound.com,