Thinking Football 2023: Highlights


Six days of film and football with special guests, such as: Thomas N’Kono, Liam Brady, Virginie Verrier, Ivano Bonetti, Miodrag Belodedici, Martin Bengtsson, Greg Cruttwell and the Brentford Penguins


The 11th edition of the Thinking Football Film Festival has given us six days of football and cinema, plus a 2023 Audience Award winner in Virginie Verrier’s ‘Marinette’. The annual event is organised by the Athletic Club Foundation and sponsored by Sala BBK, Grupo Tecman, Meliá Bilbao and Metro Bilbao, with extra support from DAZN, Fundación LaLiga and Vueling.

Among the guests invited to this year’s festival were football legends such as Cameroonian goalkeeper Thomas N’Kono, Irish midfielder Liam Brady, Sampdoria champion Ivano Bonetti, double European champion Miodrag Belodedici, Brentford Penguins coach Allan Cockram and Martin Bengtsson, who received the 2022 Audience Award for ‘Tigrar’.

In fact, one of the new features at this year’s Thinking Football was a double morning showing of the Swedish film, specially aimed at local teenagers and Lezama’s technical staff. Martin Bengtsson, accompanied by the film’s director Ronnie Sandhal, took part in Q&A sessions after the screenings, where they discussed topics such as identity, social pressure and mental health.

Several other figures also took part in post-screening chats, including: Marco Ponti and Leonardo Godano, director and producer of ‘La Bella Stagione’; Billy Dosanjh and Yaw Basoah, director and producer of ‘Green Lions’; Sean Casey, director of ‘Liam Brady: The Irishman Abroad’; Virginie Verrier, director of ‘Marinette’; and Louis Myles, director of ‘Mighty Penguins’.

Futhermore, there was no shortage of familiar faces from Athletic Club at Bilbao’s Sala BBK, Jose Angel Iribar, Óscar de Marcos, Mikel Vesga, Iraia Iturregi, Ainhoa Tirapu were often there, while Garazi Murua and Marta Unzué led both women’s team as they watched ‘Marinette’. Several members of the Board of Directors also came to the festival: Nerea Ortiz, Jon Ruigómez, Josetxu Urrutia, Egoitz Begoña, Igor San Román, Laura Ruiz de Azua, Jon Salinas, Ana Díez and Goizalde Santamarina.