Pitch Session: Inside Cannes' Exec Soccer Showdown

Soccerheads Illo No Text - H 2016

Dozens of film industry vets take a break several times a year from competing over deals to compete on the soccer field at AFM, Toronto and Berlin. Next on the circuit is May 16's Cannes matchup — the 20th event over the past two decades.

It begins at 8 p.m. at the Stade Maurice Chevalier. The tradition, which has seen a broken kneecap here and an eye knocked out of its socket there, long has been organized by Magus Entertainment president Peter Wetherell.

As always, it will be the Europe team — coached by Martin Myers, owner of Miracle Films — squaring off against the U.S.-heavy World United team, headed by Wetherell. (These "serious amateur" players, as Wetherell puts it, are assigned to teams based on where they work, not where they're from.)

Other participants include eOne Films U.K. managing director Alex Hamilton (eOne sponsors the event) and Sony Pictures Classics exec vp Dylan Leiner, who notes that the games "forge some very real friendships — and some good insight into people's true character; you know what they say about sports: People show their true colors!"

As for the game itself, Myers observes, "the plan is to batter the opposition into submission." (Europe won its first game against World United in a number of years last fall at AFM in Santa Monica.)

For his part, Wetherell notes, "Europe is more aggressive, a bit dirtier in their style of play. World United has more style."