Sunset Sports Media Festival opened with an exclusive screening of the film “Football must go on”


An exclusive screening of the sports documentary mini-series “Football Must Go On” was held at the Cinestar cinema in Zadar, which officially opened the second edition of the SUNSET Sports Media Festival. The opening of the festival gathered numerous world-renowned names, including former NBA stars Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Stephen Espinoza, Cindy Marina, Martina Knežević, Pete Radovich, Frank Leenders, Dee Kundra, Nikola Stolnik and Dubravko Šimenc. And to the great joy of all present, former national team player and midfielder for Shakhtar Donetsk, Darijo Srna, also attended the screening along with Shakhtar’s junior team.

All the Smoke, Stephen Espinoza, Damjan Rudež

The screening, which filled every last seat, showed the story of the Ukrainian club that has been playing outside its home city and stadium for eight seasons because of the war in Ukraine. The hard-hitting documentary brings the untold stories of the players and their personal destinies and struggles, including those of Darijo Srna, a former Croatian national football team player and a long-time member of the Ukrainian club. The series is the result of a collaboration between CBS and Paramount+, and is produced by Pete Radovich, multiple award-winning creative director and producer at CBS.

“I am extremely happy to be here in Croatia with my friends and family and everyone who believed in this project. And what makes it extra special is that I just received my Croatian citizenship today. My favorite part of this job is telling stories. And since CBS Sports follows the latest news from the Champions League, we have an insight into the concept behind the game itself. For this reason, we decided to film a documentary series about the successes and challenges of the Shakhtar football club. Very quickly I got in touch with Darijo Srna, who immediately showed an interest and agreed to help realize our vision. Today you will see the first three episodes of this series, which will consist of four or five episodes, while the world premier will take place later in the fall. None of this would not have been possible without Darijo’s faith and support, for which I thank him immensely,” said producer and creative director of CBS Sports Pete Radovich in his opening address.

Darijo Srna i Pete Radovich

Shakhtar’s sports director Darijo Srna gave his review of the series, as well as his expectations for the future: “At Shakhtar, we always want more, but we were forced to make the most of a bad situation after we were left without a coaching staff a year ago, 14 players and our pre-war funding. But we didn’t give up. We fought until the end and won that very important and impossibly difficult championship. The documentary is fantastic and even though I have personally experienced it, I am truly moved. The crew from CBS who shot the series did a tremendous job. They followed us from Kiev to Warsaw, Rotterdam, Madrid, Milan and other European cities. I really congratulate them because they were with us from the beginning. Filming involved a lot of physical and mental effort and sacrifice, but it all paid off in the end. This is our reality and the reality of the Ukrainian people. Therefore, I thank everyone for their support from day one. Unfortunately, Croatia is a country that went through something that these children and other people are going through today, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope the last episode will be about our victory – victory over Russia.”

Darijo Srna and Shaktar football players

The SUNSET Sports Media Festival was held in the historic centre of Zadar, featuring a rich three-day program marked by numerous panels and lectures where individuals with impressive stories shared their knowledge and experiences on current topics from the world of sports and media, and presented leading projects and innovations, which provided visitors with the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and create future business opportunities.

“Sports have a unique power to connect people in the most difficult moments, and I believe that the spirit of sport can transcend political events. I would like to thank the city of Zadar, the Tourist Board of the city of Zadar and the Croatian National Tourist Board, as well as all the friends who made it possible for us to gather tonight and hang out for the next three days in one of the most beautiful sports cities in the world – Zadar,” said Damjan Rudež, director of the Sunset Sports Media Festival.

Sunset Sports Media Festival

At this year’s edition of the Festival, visitors can expect a handful of interesting events. After the screening of the Oscar-nominated film “The Longest Wave”, which tells the story of windsurfer and sports icon Robby Naish, the image of Zadar and Croatia will be broadcast around the world when former NBA champions and hosts of the popular basketball podcast “All the Smoke”, Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, record an episode of their podcast next to the famous Sea Organ.