First of all, why “Eleven”?
‘11’ is an extraordinary number, with appearances throughout history from many civilisations, cultures and religions. From the ancient Greeks and Mayans to oriental cultures and Christianity, ‘11’ is a key number. In recent years, ‘11’ was associated with dates of world-changing events. In numerology, ‘11’ is considered the “master number” as it carries a vibrational frequency of balance.
Personally I view ‘11’ as the transitional number: something that is about to happen but hasn’t just yet. Like an eleven-year-old child, only 2 years away from becoming a teenager, yet still a child; clearly a transitional period in a child’s path to adolescence, as he/she progresses from observing the world to actively processing it, while starting to shape his/her own character.
Growing up in a middle class family in Greece, I never missed out on any basic needs such as food, clean water and a bed to sleep. The sun shines for the biggest part of the year, offering great conditions for children to go out and play. The challenges I had to cope with when I was eleven were maths exams, basketball games and finding all the stickers for my football album. What are the challenges that eleven-year-olds from different circumstances have to face across the world? Are they that simple? What are the social issues affecting them?
Being Greek, I am no stranger to the rise of racism and xenophobia that hit Europe as an after-effect of the economic recession. When times are tough and people are desperate, they tend to channel their frustration against the ones they don’t understand. However, how damaging could the implications from such behaviour be to a child’s psyche?
‘11’ is also the trademark number for football, the so-called “ international language” that brings people together. It is known that during the 1st World War, on Christmas day, the English and the Germans ceased fighting for a game of football. A long time has passed since then, and despite football being the king of sports; the subject of racial abuse and discrimination within the game is more topical than ever.
“Eleven” will attempt to track the routes of this problem, isolate them and raise awareness in order to prevent such incidents in the future. The football game at the end of the documentary aims to offer these children a lifetime memory, kicking the ball along with their heroes, while it celebrates equality and diversity.
At the end of the day, the biggest challenge in a child’s life is growing up in this world, and there is no extra-time in it.