In this documentary executive produced by Serena and Venus Williams, the filmmakers use archival footage and new interviews to tell the story of the unofficial 1971 Women’s World Cup, a moment virtually erased from the history of soccer.
Rachel Ramsay, James Erskine
The Women’s World Cup was first sanctioned by FIFA in 1991. For most lovers of the sport, that year marks the first chapter of a new era. But there is an important precursor that's gone largely forgotten.
Copa 71 uncovers a wealth of archival footage from 1971 when Mexico City held an international event billed as the Women’s World Cup. Teams came from Argentina, Denmark, England, France, Italy, and Mexico, playing a tournament to over 100,000 fans in Azteca Stadium. It was an unparalleled audience for women’s sports.
Filmmakers Rachel Ramsay and James Erskine track down the players from across Europe and Latin America. For decades, these women scarcely had a chance to tell their story. But what a story they have to tell of battles on and off the field.
In their hometowns and sometimes within their own families, the women faced routine sexism and undermining of their dreams. They persevered to develop their athleticism and defy naysayers on a global stage. The women were experiencing breakthroughs not only in sports, but also in understanding power, liberation, and self-fulfillment.
The filmmakers bring a narrative flair that matches the dazzling action on the field. Their dedication won the support of Olympic gold medalists Brandi Chastain and Alex Morgan, who are interviewed, and Serena and Venus Williams, who serve as executive producers.
Prepare yourself for an emotional ride. The amnesia over this history is a woeful loss, but this film is a winner.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival