Film pro­ducer Matt lands pres­ti­gious fes­ti­val slot

Macclesfield Express - - BEFORE THE BENCH -

A FILM PRO­DUCER has won crit­i­cal ac­claim and a place at a pres­ti­gious New York film fes­ti­val for his doc­u­men­tary about foot­ball in the Mid­dle East.

Matt Slater, from Mac­cles­field, is the ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on ‘Lights of Rome’ - the story of how the United Arab Emi­rates qual­i­fied for the Italia 90 World Cup.

The coun­try was at that time the smallest to ever reach the tour­na­ment and man­aged it with two goals in the dy­ing sec­onds of the fi­nal qual­i­fy­ing match in Sin­ga­pore.

For­mer Bollinbrook Pri­mary and Fal­li­b­roome pupil Matt, 39, and friend Ali Khaled had the idea to turn the story into a film sev­eral years ago and af­ter work­ing with UAE film com­pany Im­age Na­tion have turned that vi­sion into a re­al­ity.

It will now be shown at the in­dus­try lead­ing DOCNYC event on Novem­ber 17 with a Mid­dle East cin­ema re­lease from De­cem­ber 1.

Matt, who lived close to Thorn­ton Square, said: “I re­mem­ber the United Arab Emi­rates be­ing at Italia 90 and like pretty much ev­ery­one else had no real idea who they were. Af­ter mov­ing here to start a news­pa­per I started to un­der­stand the bril­liant and dra­matic story be­hind them get­ting there and how they were such huge un­der­dogs.

“Ali is a great friend of mine and we worked on the idea and took it to Im­age Na­tion who loved it and have been a mas­sive sup­porter and driv­ing force be­hind get­ting it to cin­e­mas.

“We are all very proud of Lights of Rome and fol- low­ing DOCNYC we hope foot­ball fans love it as much as we do.”

Matt moved to Liver­pool in 1996 to study be­fore leav­ing for Dubai in 2005 to help start a news­pa­per.

He then started Seven Me­dia, a com­pany now with more than 50 em­ploy­ees in The Gulf, with friend and busi­ness part­ner Gregg Fray.

Matt added: “It’s a very ex­cit­ing time for Seven Me­dia at the mo­ment with work all over the re­gion and fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­ni­ties like Lights of Rome.”

The UAE cel­e­brate a goal and Mat, in­set

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