Meet the Gooners (a continuing series)

Filmmaker Micha Peled can be forgiven for missing Bay Area Gooners Arsenal match-viewings at  Maggie McGarry’s this season.  He’s been busy traveling, presenting his latest film, Bitter Seeds, at film festivals around the world.

Fortunately, his hectic travel schedule recently landed him in London as Arsenal played host to Aston Villa at the Emirates, and he tells us about his love of Arsenal and his match-day experience.

I’ve always had affinity for Arsenal but I became a real fan who watches most games and follows the blogs gradually in the past ten years, as live television transmission became easily accessible in the U.S. I was in a live game just once before.

My work took me to a film festival in Sheffield, and I was able to escape Saturday morning and head to Wolverhampton for the away match. But my friends were only able to get me a ticket with the home crowd. The entire game I pretended to be a dumb American who knows little about soccer. I had to sit on my hands and keep mum each of the four times Arsenal scored. Across the pitch I could see the away fans, hear them chanting and waving the red-and-white scarves. My longings to unite with my tribe were frustrated that day. I felt like Moses looking at the Promised Land from Mt. Sinai, but denied entry to it. (I’m Israeli – hence the Biblical reference).

Micha would realize his dream of celebrating with his fellow Gooners, courtesy of a long-time season ticket holder and frequent Bay Area Gooners benefactor.

Finally I was able to get down with my tribe two weekends ago. It was a great intro to the Emirates, as we slammed Aston Villa 3 – 0. Jumping around and chanting with everyone else around was a real joy.

An award-winning documentarian, Micha dreams of having unlimited camera access to Arsene Wenger and the club over the course of a season, and maintains a mostly positive outlook for the future.

He says, My hopes for Arsenal’s near future are those of most fans: that this summer we strengthen the squad with significant players of world class quality. And that whoever replaces Pat Rice will perfectly compliment the Boss.  Though long-term, I can’t help feeling concerned what the post-Wanger era will bring.

You can see Micha’s latest film, Bitter Seeds, the third and final part of The Globalization Trilogy, when it has its Bay Area premiere at the San Francisco International Film  Festival.

The first screening will be on Saturday, April 21, 2011 at 3:45 PM at the New People Cinema (just up the street from the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas) in Japantown.

The film has already garnered two awards at its international premiere: the IDFA Green Screen competition and the Oxfam Global Justice Award. Here is what some notable folks in California are saying about it:

Films like this can change the world. – Alice Waters, activist, author, and owner of Chez Panisse restaurant.

A tragedy for our times, beautifully told and deeply disturbing. – Michael Pollan,  journalist, activist, and author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Better than a Batman movie, with real villains making up their own lines. – Peter Sellar, American theatre director and professor of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA.

You can get tickets to screenings of Bitter Seeds here.

Micha will be doing Q & A after each of screening. He says, Hope to see you at the screenings.

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