Captains Studio, our new lavel, has been working on the new documentary series Força Koeman in collaboration with Wasserman. The result is a unique peek into the return of Koeman to his beloved club FC Barcelona. That is unique, because this perspective is rarely shown in the often conservative football world. Jop Goslinga, executive producer and co-founder of Captains Studio, tells us how Forca Koeman came to be.
In August of last year, at 11PM, the phone rang. Stefan Valk, responsible for media at Wasserman, called. “If we can have a camera crew ready within an hour, because the next morning Koeman would be on his way to Barcelona to officially sign his contract as the new coach of FC Barcelona. At the time this was a big secret. What this production would look like was not clear at the time. But we immediately knew that it was worth getting a cameraman onto the private jet. From there talks with media parties started and the idea to make a three-part docuseries was formed”, Jop says.
Een special family document
Captains Studio often collaborates with Wasserman, the sports management company to which Koeman’s manager Rob Jansen is also affiliated. “We were given all access. Koeman let us come very close, including into his family circle. Not only did this allow us to document the riveting first months of Koeman’s job as head coach, but also alIowed us to make a special and intimate family document. It’s an exciting story, even for those who don’t love football.”
It is far from usual that a camera is allowed to come this close to an experience like this. Especially in the often still conservative football world, where the stakes are high, this perspective is rarely seen. ‘It is thanks to the progressive vision of people like Rob Jansen and Stefan Valk that this was possible. During the hectic of a huge transfer, they were able to come up with this idea. They really made this possible, because generally these things don’t work.’, Jop says. ‘I also think that these kinds of stories are all around us. The viewer doesn’t want filtered or perfect films anymore, but real and honest stories.’
Frayed edges are part of it
‘And of course, Koeman plays the most important part in this’, Jop continues. ‘He showed us everything. He was very clear about that, you either don’t do it or you do it right. And part of a story is the downsides. Whenever we were there, we filmed everything, with the agreement that he could remove sensitive topics in post production. This allowed him to talk freely without having to watch what he was saying. The best part is that none of that footage ended up having to be cut. This kind of attitude from Koeman is something that you don’t see often at the top of international football. And that is why this project turned out to be very honest and genuine.’
Koeman started being followed on August 18th, 2020, often for multiple days at a time. December – January is when filming really started to really get intensive. ‘At the start of December we knew that we had enough footage for a first season of three episodes. So then we started working towards the release on Videoland. That period is when we moved mountains’, Jop says. ‘We wanted to stay close to actuality, but this also meant that what usually takes us at least three months had to be produced in 6 weeks. We worked with multiple filmcrews, in Barcelona, Curaçao and in Lyon. And then there was the team in the Netherlands working on the edit. We have a great team of editors at our company led by Chiel Verbakel (director Força Koeman) who have been working together for years, allowing them to read and write together. Otherwise this wouldn’t have been possible.’
Furthermore, Lars Ham, director of photography, was on his A game. Furthermore, Lars Ham, director of photography, was on his A game. Aside from the fact that Lars was the one who followed Koeman like a fly on the wall, he also provided spectacular visuals for the shoots that didn’t include Koeman’, Jop continues, who warns that it’s starting to get a bit mushy. ‘But that should be allowed sometimes…’
‘Hans de Kleine was exactly the oracle that our young team needed, Teddy Cherim was the creative-critical editor-in-chief keeping the editors on their toes and who helped shape the story, Nils von der Assen was the editor who, as a professional football romantic, already breathed the story before it was made, Kim van Beek was the boundless production leader who made impossible schedules possible, Lucy van Gaalen the multi-tasker who seems to be able to do everything, Maria Gertsen the always enthoustic editor who managed to entirely rent out an immense museum in less than 18 hours, Margo de Roos who acted as corona-manager to keep the virus away from the sets, Edwin Winkels who conducted amazing interviews with Ronald and Bartina Koeman, Nino Doornbos who edited the series masterfully, Christian Kasius who designed the series beautifully, Stevan Valk who opened closed doors and came up (with the idea) for the series (!), Ingrid de Rijke who kept an eye on everything legal and financial, Tim Koeman who was a great help during the entire process, Debbie de Jong who streamlined everything in Barcelona, Studio Gooi & Vecht who added color- and aftereffects giving the film even more character, KH Music who made a beautiful leader track and of course maestro Chiel Verbakel who was creatively responsible for the series. And dozens of others at home and abroad who helped in creating this series. It’s our own Dream Team. And we are happy with the result.’
Captains Studio: a new Captains label
The production of Força Koeman was also the moment to launch our new label. Captains Studio originated from Captains. ‘We were already making longer documentaries aside from video productions for brands’, says Boudewijn Vermolen, head of strategy. ‘However, the need grew to publish this under a separate label, so that we could continue to build on our modern media company. A new label that completely focuses on unscripted formats for television, streaming services and other digital platforms fits very well with our development and ambitions. And of course the connecting factor between Captains and Captains Studio remains that it’s about real stories that move people.’