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“Everything happens at the same time,” Oscar-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia told the Documentary Roundtable. “We’re shooting, we’re doing interviews, we’re still doing research while we’re cutting.”
Mostly known for his film Amy — which won the Oscar for best documentary in 2016 and centers on singer Amy Winehouse’s life, career and tragic death — Kapadia’s latest effort Diego Maradona centers on the titular Argentinian soccer star as he switched from Barcelona to Naples and went on to win a World Cup title for Italy.
Kapadia told the roundtable about his reverence for pop icons, as Diego Maradona marks his third documentary in this vein (his first, 2010’s Senna, follows the life and death of Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna). “I’m quite interested in the people almost struggling to beat the power,” said the filmmaker. “[Maradona is] from a really tough place. He always wants to fight against the rich. The wealthy north, in Italy’s case. A lot of it is fighting against corruption with Senna. With Amy, it was against the media.” Kapadia described Maradona as part “Ayrton Senna and part Amy Winehouse as a character. He’s this Latin American macho hero, but also very vulnerable, and that’s not the way he’s been seen before. The characters I’m interested in are fighting the establishment.”
He continued: “It’s a pop culture icon that already exists. You think you know everything, but if you somehow reframe it and look at it in a slightly different angle, there is a deeper meaning to these characters and stories that say something about a world that we’re living in.”
Diego Maradona is currently available on HBO.
The full Documentary Roundtable is set to air Feb. 9 on SundanceTV. Kapadia appears on the roundtable panel along with Lauren Greenfield (The King Maker), Todd Douglas Miller (Apollo 11), Nanfu Wang (One Child Nation), Julia Reichert (American Factory) and Alex Gibney (Citizen K) to discuss the space for documentaries in a changing industry, how to choose and secure a subject and the increased need to stand against propaganda. Follow all the Oscar-season roundtables at THR.com/Roundtables.
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Palm Springs international film festival