Only FIFA World Cup champions and heads of state are allowed to touch the solid-gold symbol of world football supremacy. But last fall, FIFA granted a one-time exception and made the impossible possible for a very deserving group of players: Brazil's National Team for 5-a-side visually disabled football.
“Just as Brazil is a very diverse and inclusive
Campbell continues, "As we all know, visually disabled people experience the world through touch, so we partnered with FIFA to grant an exception to the FIFA World Cup trophy regulations so these players might ‘see’ the trophy with their own hands for the first time.”
The 3-minute video shows the players approaching the trophy in a single-file line with their hands on the shoulders of the teammate in front of him.
“That magical moment you see on camera is authentic,” Campbell adds. “They were genuinely surprised… they didn’t know what was in front of them. It was incredibly moving to see the expressions on their faces go from excitement, to realization, to disbelief, to sheer joy. There were very few dry eyes on the set that day.”
The film features Ricardo Alves, who could see for the first six years of his life before his world suddenly went dark. Despite losing his sight, he never lost hope.
“When I told people I dreamed of being a professional football player, they laughed at me and said it was impossible for a blind guy to play football. The difficulties of life are there not to prevent you from doing things, but to be overcome,” said the 24-year-old midfielder, who lives in Porto Alegre.
Alves did just that, honing his skills and eventually joining a football league with fellow blind players. He now captains Brazil’s world-champion team and recently was named the sport’s top player. “When I discovered blind football, it was as if I’d been given a second chance,” he says.
Pulling off the stunt -- and keeping it under wraps --
wasn’t easy. FIFA and
“You have to be nimble and roll with it on projects like this one,” says John Carey, who directed the spot.
Carey, whose previous work includes Dove’s award-winning “Real Beauty Sketches, is known for fusing cinematic artistry with the authenticity and emotional heft of documentary filmmaking. He said Alves’ story of resilience and against-all-odds optimism made him the perfect protagonist.
“I want my work to have the visual spectacle, sound devices and lyricism of a movie, but also to feel believable and genuine,” Carey said. “I also want to share advice or wisdom with the audience… which I think this film does. When I show it to my family and friends, they get emotional because they see the truth in Ricardo and the other players’ eyes.”