Nefta Football Club, a short film set in the south of Tunisia, is one of the nominations for an Oscar in the short film category at the 2020 Academy Awards. Two football fan brothers, Mohamed and Abdallah, ride on a motorbike debating the merits of Algerian footballer Riyad Mahrez and Argentinian Messi. They bump into a mule lost in the middle of the desert on the border of Algeria and Tunisia. Strangely, the donkey wears headphones over its ears, and is carrying a valuable load of white powder. The younger of the boys knows just the use for that white powder. In the meantime, two drug smugglers, Salim and Ali, are looking for their mule. It turns out the drug mule was trained to head over the border with the sounds of Adele’s “Someone like you”. Unfortunately the donkey’s been listening to Check Hadel. Back in town, the two boys have quite different ideas about what to do with the “laundry powder”.
Behind the scenes
Director and writer Yves Piat brought his own experience to the film’s plot. As a teenager he and friend stumbled across a twisted spoon, a camping stove and thousands of little plastic bags full of white powder. They picked it up on their motorbike but, not knowing what else to do, dumped it all in there the river. The drug-carrying donkey is based on smuggling practices in North West Africa, though whistling sounds are used for guidance, rather than music.
See more on the film’s website, lesvalseurs.com/nefta-football-club.
Nefta Football Club Credits
Filming was shot by director Yves Piat with director of photography Valentin Vignet, producers Damien Megherbi and Justin Pechberty at Les Valseurs, editor Jérôme Bréau, sound team Sabri Thabet, Victor Vilette, Jérémie Halbert, Antoine Bertucci, with original music by Jérôme Rossi. Local production in Tunisia was by Ulysson Productions.
Post production was done at Les Films Du Dissident, Silverway Paris, and La Puce A l’Oreille Studio Montreuil.
Actors were Eltayef Dhaoui (Mohammed), Mohamed Ali Ayari (Abdallah), Lyes Salem (Salim), and Hichem Mesbah (Ali), Skander Afif and Lazher Dgouachi (mechanics).