Film launched to highlight enormous recovery needs after Yolanda

Mar 7, 2014

Through the experiences of young football players – whose communities have benefited from UNDP’s cash-for-work efforts – the film tells the story of the disaster and appeals to audiences to remember those affected by the typhoon. Photo: Daniel Konz

21,000 football fans see film promo at star-studded celebrity match in Switzerland

Manila – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Embassy of Switzerland today launched a short film, entitled: “The Football Wonder of Tacloban” by renowned Swiss filmmaker Michael Steiner, aimed at raising awareness and support to help meet enormous recovery needs across the typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) devastated areas of the Philippines.

In this, a football world cup year, the film comes hot on the heels of the international UNDP/ FIFA/ UEFA Match Against Poverty, which saw football legends and UNDP goodwill ambassadors Zinédine Zidane and Ronaldo raise support to create jobs and promote development for the Philippines after the typhoon. A short version of the film was showcased in front of the 21,000-strong crowd that turned out for the match in Bern, Switzerland on Tuesday (4 March).

The match, along with the one-minute film, was beamed to 74 countries around the world, including the USA, Brazil, France, Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines, which will broadcast it over the coming week.    

At the Manila launch event today, UNDP Country Director Maurice Dewulf said: “Tonight is about highlighting the plight of the millions whose lives have been devastated by typhoon Yolanda.” The typhoon shattered one of the poorest parts of the Philippines, where up to 60% of people lived in poverty before the disaster. “There is a real danger now that people will slide deeper into poverty, unless we act quickly to restore livelihoods,” he said.

Football is extremely popular across the typhoon-affected areas, while Dan Palami, the driving force behind the rise of the national football team (the Azkals), is from Tacloban – the economic hub of the affected areas.

The Azkals success has inspired several of the Philippines’ rising football stars, like John Wayne Regis (17) – one of the youngest players with the 1st division Global Football Club – also from Tacloban. “My father taught me to play when I was six,” he said during an interview prior to the launch. “After the typhoon he couldn’t find any work,” John said.He worked in UNDP’s cash-for-work programme. That was the only job available and the money helped my family get by,” he said. “Four months after Yolanda things have improved. We are surviving, but we are far from what we used to be.”

“Within weeks of the disaster, UNDP was already rolling out debris clearance efforts, dealing with the challenging first moments of clearing roads, communities, hospitals and schools,” said UNDP Resident Representative, Luiza Carvalho. “From emergency work, UNDP is rapidly moving to support recovery. This involves reaching out to coconut farmers, fisheries, local government, with a strong focus on women workers and entrepreneurs,” she said. “This film is a wonderful opportunity to remind the world that recovery is the most complex and longer part of a disaster response and we need support from all partners.”

“By telling the story of how the typhoon devastated the lives of local football players, I wanted to tell the story of an entire region,” said filmmaker Michael Steiner. “There is still a long way to go to rebuild and we need to keep reminding everyone that people in Visayas need their support.”

The international Match Against Poverty was also premiered locally during the Manila film launch event today. “We are sending all our good vibes to the victims of Yolanda in the Philippines,” UNDP goodwill ambassador, Ronaldo said before the kick-off in Bern on Tuesday.   

Often described as ‘the beautiful game’, the Match against Poverty truly lives up to that reputation,” said the Ambassador of Switzerland to the Philippines, Ivo Sieber. “While the stars on the pitch dazzle with their skills, the spectators in the stadium and all over the world will have the chance to show their solidarity with the victims of typhoon Yolanda,” he said. 

“I am particularly proud that Switzerland is the host of this year’s game and that a video produced by well-known Swiss director Michael Steiner will bring the suffering and the hope of the people from Tacloban to the stadium in Bern, and to the world
,” the Ambassador said.

About UNDP:
Restoring livelihoods is at the heart of UNDP’s three-year Yolanda recovery programme. Within weeks of the crisis, UNDP was already offering people emergency employment, through its cash-for-work effort. To date 65,000 people have been able to earn much-needed cash, enabling them to buy essentials or repair their homes. UNDP is now working on helping to restore and create new livelihoods opportunities across the affected areas. 

About the new short film, “The Football Wonder of Tacloban”:
In just five years, the Philippines’ national football team (the Azkals) have soared up the FIFA rakings and became number one in South East Asia. The driving force behind this success, Dan Palami, and several of the county’s top players are from the Visayas, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in November 2013. Through the experiences of young football players, like John Wayne Regis – whose communities have benefited from UNDP’s cash-for-work efforts – the film tells the story of the disaster and appeals to audiences to remember those affected by the typhoon. 

Swiss Filmmaker, Michael Steiner and his film team volunteered their time to make the film as they wanted to support people affected by the typhoon. The film was supported by UNDP, FIFA and the Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines. During this, a world cup year, “The Football Wonder of Tacloban” aims to encourage billions of football fans around the world to support recovery in the Visayas – home of many leading national players and Dan Palami, the driving force behind the success of the national team (the Azkals). 

The film will be broadcast in the Philippines and used widely across the FIFA and UNDP online platforms to promote awareness, especially among the billions of football fans around the world.

About the Director:
Michael Steiner grew up in Rapperswil (SG). After graduating from secondary school, he went on to study Ethnology, the History of Art and Film Studies at the University of Zurich, but left after two years to shoot his first movie “NACHT DER GAUCKLER” – without any funding. After this abrupt introduction into the film business, he shot 5 feature films in Switzerland; the biggest success of these being “Mein Name ist Eugen” and "Grounding". He is the most successful Swiss movie maker of the last decade with 3 blockbusters within 6 years.

About the Match Against Poverty:
Last Tuesday (March 4), a star-studded line-up of football greats played in the Match Against Poverty at the Stade De Suisse National Stadium in Bern, Switzerland in front of a 21,000-strong crowd. For the 11th year running, UNDP goodwill ambassadors and football legends Zinédine Zidane and Ronaldo led their team of internationally renowned football players, including 2001 FIFA World Player winner Luís Figo and five-time FIFA Female World Player of the Year Marta Vieira da Silva, for a friendly match against the Bern professional football club, the BSC Young Boys and Friends. 

This year, two thirds of the match proceeds will help support urgent recovery efforts for the millions still struggling to rebuild their lives after Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in the Philippines. 

A one-minute version of the “Football Wonder of Tacloban” was played during half-time at the Match Against Poverty. 

The annual match against poverty - which is televised globally - is supported by both football’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

For further information:

In Manila : Lisa Hiller-Garvey, Mobile +63 (0) 9175147983,; or Anna Mae Lamentillo ; +63 (0) 9175068700,

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