MUDBLOODS — Harry Potter-Inspired Doc Focuses on The Real Sport of Quidditch

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter and the sport of Quidditch that was created for the magical world of Potter, then you have to check out this trailer for a documentary called Mudbloods. It focuses on the real life sport of Quidditch and the people who play it. This is a fascinating doc that I know a lot of you will enjoy watching and appreciate.

The film will be screening this June at the FilmQuest Film Festival, and you can check out the screening schedule here if you’re interested. You can also watch it on iTunes. I’ve included the synopsis below, which offers some additional details on the film:

Transforming Harry Potter’s fictional competition into a physically demanding, real-life sport, quidditch has secured its place as one of the fastest growing collegiate club sports today. MUDBLOODS follows the resilient underdogs of the UCLA Quidditch team as they make their way to the Fifth Annual Quidditch World Cup in New York City. Through nail biting victories and losses, the dreamers, creators and athletes who make up this exceptional community come together to make this magical sport into something you could’ve never imagined, until now.

I’ve also included an interview we conducted with the director of the film, Farzad Sangari, below the trailer. In it, he talks about what inspired him to make the movie, where the sport of Quidditich currently stands, the culture of the sport, what he hopes audiences will take away from it, and more. But first, here's the trailer:

What inspired you to make a documentary focused on the real version of the sport of Quidditch?

"There’s a lot of reasons. I think the main reason was the people. When I first met Tom and the team, I made a little short film about them, like a 10 minute thing. I was also doing other things, but I came back to this as a larger documentary project because once I made that short film, I had gotten to know the type of people who do this and I think it’s just an interesting mix of people who are self aware, confident, athletic, and kind of nerdy. It’s just this unique blend that I hadn’t seen before, specifically in sports. I grew up playing a lot of sports as a kid and to see something that crossed a lot of these barriers for me, as a filmmaker, was very intriguing."

Why did you choose to follow the UCLA Bruins Quidditch team?

"A lot of people on the filmmaking team, including me, went to UCLA. The first time I saw UCLA’s Quidditch team was at UCLA. 
"That connection assisted in creating an immediate bond and helped us get to know each other initially; however, it’s not why I choose to follow them. I choose to follow their story because I found the individual members of the team to be smart, charming, funny, very creative and extremely self-aware. They’re also great athletes. Ultimately, they are all wonderful characters in the midst of an exciting journey that I was just lucky enough to stumble upon."

What challenges did you face while you were developing this film?

"It was a challenge showing the line between Quidditch being a fun sport and a competitive sport. I think the harder thing is to show people, yeah, it comes from this thing, so you might have these perceptions. And it is a very fun thing, it is a very open thing. But it’s also a sport. And that’s the line that was really hard to navigate as a filmmaker. But I think by the time you get to the tournament, and you see all those teams come into the stadium and then you see the games, hopefully we’ve taken people through that process in the film."

While you were capturing the culture of this sport, what was the strongest aspect of that culture that stuck out to you?

"The Quidditch community is very inviting and imaginative. I think those are the words that really capture them. They’re very open. They’re very nice. Because they are doing this idiosyncratic thing, there’s this sense of community not only amongst the team but among all the teams. But they’re also really creative with taking this thing that is impossible to do in real life and figuring out a way to do it. Not only figuring out how to play the sport but creating tournaments around it, creating an infrastructure where there’s an organization around it and to create something that has enough of a draw that they have fans now, and it’s growing not only across the nation but into other countries."

Would you like to see Quidditch find its way into the main stream, or do you think that would ruin the uniqueness of the sport?

"It is already trending mainstream. Since last year, or just recently, they split up the IQA [International Quidditch Association], which is what Alex Benepe was running, into a thing called US Quidditch and then other countries now, I think seven or eight countries, have their own Quidditch associations, as well. So it’s not just this one banner with all these other countries. US Quidditch is sort of the main one, with the national universities and high schools, and these other countries are trying to emulate that model. So it’s been growing, not only on a national level but it’s getting bigger on an international scale."

Are there any fun behind the scenes stories that you would like to share?

"One of the first things I did even before I started filming them was play with them. And because I was super embarrassed and I didn’t want to do it by myself, I made my friend come. He plays basketball all the time, and he’s super athletic, but he couldn’t even play two games. He had to sit out after the first. He was, like, 'Dude, I can’t even go.' The first time I played it was when I realized, 'Wow, not only is it hard on a physical level, but there’s so many things happening at once that it’s really dynamic.' Your brain and your body have to be working really fast."

After all the time you spent making this film and following these players around, what was one of the most valuable life lessons that you learned from it?

"I think what I took away from it is that I was really impressed by the people that I met and inspired by their imagination and creativity and their confidence. I hope people take away that same thing when they see these people and I also hope they take away that these people took this impossible idea and made it a reality. I think that takes a lot of determination and, as I said, imagination. So I guess in very simple terms, how far can you take an idea? How far can your imagination or a willingness to create something take you? And I think they’re excellent examples of that."
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