INDIANAPOLIS — Soccer is serious business in Brazil. Just ask IUPUI Department of Music and Arts Technology lecturer Ricardo Laranja, a native of that nation of 220 million people that is hosting the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament.
That passion for the sport most of the world knows as football spawned stadium construction to help handle the monthlong schedule of games, June 12 to July 13, which led to a documentary film, “Operarios da Bola,” loosely translated as “Blue Collar Players.” Laranja got involved as an audio engineer and composer when producer-director Virna Smith asked him to help complete the documentary.
Smith’s film highlights the desire of all Brazilians to be part of this year’s international festival. Construction workers created 60 male teams and four female teams to take part in a “blue-collar” tournament nicknamed the “Cup Before the Cup.” More than 800 workers participated in the event, out of 3,000 who constructed the Mané Garrincha stadium that will host the World Cup contests.
The movie is in Brazilian theaters nationwide and will show for 60 days. Several TV stations are negotiating to air the movie, including ESPN Brasil and Globo, the biggest network TV channel in Brazil. “Operarios da Bola” has been recently accepted to be shown at a film festival in Los Angeles in September.
For Laranja, it was a great opportunity to work on the documentary. He has refined Smith’s movie several times in recent weeks, tweaking the sound to fit his own standards of musical and sound perfection.
“I am so excited to be part of this historic project,” he said. “I believes it captures the passion and love for soccer for the Brazilian people. Brazil lives soccer, basically. It’s a religion.”
It also excites Laranja’s imagination.
“To us, the World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” he said. Even he admits being caught up in the emotion of the games. “I’m actually going (to Brazil) on June 17, and I don’t even have a ticket!”
The music technology lecturer also was able to use the project to create learning opportunities for several Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis engineering and technology students, including juniors Raul Padro, Cale Forbes and Keith Ray.
Padro is a 59-year-old returning student who “performed all of the percussion on a song I composed and produced as part of the soundtrack for the movie,” Laranja said. “Many in Indianapolis consider Raul the best percussionist in town.”
Forbes and Ray provided sound design for the movie.
Laranja is well-acquainted with Smith, the filmmaker behind “Operarios da Bola.” He worked with her on a TV talk show called “Homem Total” (“Complete Man”), which aired in 42 countries in 2008, and was the chief audio engineer, sound designer and composer on Smith’s 2013 movie “O Encontro Marcado.”
The “Cup Before the Cup” caught the attention of the people of Brazil in part because of the opportunity of the tourney champion to compete against an all-star team led by former professional soccer star Ronaldo. The Brazilian legend was inspired by the project enough to take part.
Tournament organizers also hosted a canned food drive and a fundraiser during the stadium work, a service project that benefited local underprivileged communities, Laranja said.