It was an unusually cold and rainy in September 2012 in Farmington Hills when we first rolled camera for GOLDEN SHOES. This would be my sixth feature film with the biggest stars I have worked with. It was another rare and exhilarating opportunity to direct another film.
A year and a half earlier, I had met Norman Koza. He told me about the story he had written called GOLDEN SHOES and set me off to write the screenplay. I worked endlessly writing and rewriting the script. It was a pleasure for me because I love soccer and still play. In fact, I was a semi pro at it. So it was a feat to lose myself in writing it each day. This film was special to me. In Golden Shoes I wanted to portray that there was also a system around soccer, an entrenched society that was wrecking people’s lives, and how a simple boy who has nothing going for him, can make a difference and inspire not only a team but also a nation. The system I speak of is about true life. The economy, war, and bullying. All these facets are present in our current lives and as such I intertwined it with the story layering it with subplots to make the story more engaging. With true fidelity that can only be achieved through lavish promiscuity, I articulated, drafted, redrafted, and rewrote for months. This was essential to making the film more distinctive. I sought to avoid the stereotyping of the characters that is usually done. Norm and I wanted a good story! As William Shakespeare, the master, had made a point of always mixing showing and telling, I stuck to the form of characters and their individual plight. It was as always, a privilege.
The weather that was bestowed on us for this production will not be forgotten. The rain and wind mired our days. The kids were great and so was the crew as we shot these scenes each day on the soccer fields. So we persevered. The crew stood tall, and we marched each day with valor and made our days. But there was pleasure and laughter, and this is the magic of film. To work with Vivica Fox, John Rhys Davies, Dina Meyers, Motel Williams and Eric Roberts was great and they all nailed their characters with grace. But it was a blessing working with my friend Christian Koza. It was only his first film as a lead actor. Given the dire events that preceded the film, and the fact that he was to step up to the plate, Christian and I laughed and worked hard on his character. I was impressed by his willingness to do anything and his openness to trust me. As such he beat the odds. He rose to the challenge, and as always, he stuck to his character and performed gracefully. The child actor is a star in the making and I have no doubt about it.
I am ever so humbled to be with such people and the amazing crew that fought so hard to shoot this film in twenty days. Only twenty? I can’t believe it. My hat goes off to the crew. Thank you. It was an honor. I hope people will understand when they watch this film that it was done independently by a very regular guy, who just loves film.
Lance Kawas – October, 2012