Films are rarely as ideally timed as The Coach.

Fresh off the Russian team’s stellar rise to the upper echelons of the FIFA World Cup tally board to the thrill and against the expectations of many, The Coach has roared in for football fans the world over.

Literally kicking off with a less than idyllic match against Romania, Russian team Captain Yuriy Stoleshnikov (Russian star and debut Director Danila Kozlovsky who attended the Opening Night local premiere at the Russian Resurrection Film Festival), facing a lengthy ban, travels to a small town to train their struggling team and tread water until he can head back to the pitch.

They’re scrappy, eclectic, personality-driven, steered by a hard-as-nails manager and the occasional pride of the variedly disinterested locals. Stoleshnikov, faring a little too heavy with the alcohol, as one might expect starts to grow fond of the team, as he does one of Meteor’s employees and medical staff, the subject of the film’s secondary, more perfunctory story-line and near obligatory romance.  If this is starting to sound like The Mighty Ducks, fairly there are segments beat for beat from the classic flick, to be sure emulated in turn over many sports films.

What sets The Coach apart however is just how well it captures the drive and thrill of those most intense moments on the pitch. Having sat through many an early morning Premiere League match this author knows as does so many just how slow seconds can last at those most crucial junctures, stretching out to what feels like minutes as other plays fly by in an instant.

Lovingly recreating this thrill, as witnessed in part by Stoleshnikov’s father as he stoically watches on, instances on the pitch throughout are as reliably compulsive and occasionally heart-warming as this not unpredictable if ever-affirming sports flick.

I believe the Festival has support from a wider audience and that films like ‘The Coach’ are able to be appreciated by not only a Russian audience,” Festival Founder and Director Nicholas Maksymow told Festevez, who together with the Russian Resurrection team is celebrating the Festival’s fifteenth anniversary. Having launched the Opening Night screening of The Coach at Event Cinemas, George Street (too attended by Kozlovsky) which had spread into two theatres, Maksymow was awarded a medal in the name of Alexander Pushkin, an honour requiring approval by the President of Russia.

Accepting the honour at the event attended by Russia’s Ambassador to Australia Mr Grigory S Logvinov, Maksymow acknowledged the efforts of the numerous volunteers and co-ordinators without which the past fourteen Festivals would not have happened, nor indeed the highly-attended 2018 Opening Gala.

“I think it was well received,” said Maksymow of The Coach. “People did comment that it was an appropriate film for Opening Night. Our Opening Night is usually a fun night with the after party and what have you and so I think it’s important to open up with a film that has wide appeal,” Maksymow concluded.

The Coach screened as part of the Russian Resurrection Film Festival Opening Night in Sydney and is set to open the Festival’s 2018 runs in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and screen as part of the Festival in Perth and New Zealand

on Falkenscreen