The intriguing story behind Scotland’s newest and most ambitious football club is being told in a major new documentary film released exclusively on the STV Player today.
Brave Calling, produced by Chocolate Films, follows the against-all-odds journey of Caledonian Braves FC, a semi-professional team based in North Lanarkshire which has been playing in Scotland’s Lowland League since 2017.
Originating as a youth football academy set up to help French players develop their skills and gain opportunities with British clubs, Caledonian Braves was soon transformed by founder Chris Ewing into a fully-fledged team which, in a first for British football, allowed its small but dedicated group of fans to take personal control of its future. Major decisions such as the team’s name and kit colours were virtually voted on by anyone who had paid the club’s £25 membership fee.
In the 90-minute feature, Ewing explains the rationale behind the club’s unique approach: “It’s about being part of something of value, and feeling that you can have a voice. You can be a millionaire, or you can be on minimum wage, but your vote counts as much as anybody else’s.
“That’s what football should be about – sharing passion for the game, sharing the same ambition and sharing the same hopes.”
Brave Calling is a warts-and-all portrayal of the various challenges involved with forming an entirely new football club in the 21st century, from attempting to build a global online fanbase made up of people who might never have the opportunity to watch the team in person (and arguably don’t need to), to being forced to transport players to and from a “home” ground located over 70 miles from the club’s base.
It’s a story of innovation, determination and resilience – all largely driven by one man’s dream to turn the age-old traditions of Scottish football on their head.
Brave Calling is the latest acquisition from free video-on-demand platform STV Player, which recently launched on Virgin Media across the UK. The service has become renowned for its international drama offering – with exclusive UK rights to some of the US and Australia’s top dramas of recent years – as well as its range of classic homegrown content such as Taggart and Take the High Road. Viewing figures for the STV Player have increased by 70% in 2020 so far.
Ross Dickson, Brave Calling’s director, said: "As a filmmaker and football fan, this was a dream project for me. It's been especially refreshing to make a positive Scottish football story about hope and ambition – something I've not seen too often in my lifetime!
"All the staff, players and fans were incredibly welcoming and really trusted me to tell their story, so I can't wait for people to see it on the STV Player."
Richard Williams, STV’s Digital MD, said: “Although our viewers have been keeping themselves entertained with our fantastic line-up of dramas during lockdown, we know that sport fans, particularly in Scotland, have been lost without the football, so it’s great to be bringing the drama of the dugout back to their living rooms with this excellent new documentary.
“That said, Brave Calling’s fascinating depiction of the Caledonian Braves journey is, at its heart, a classic underdog story – and a film that I’m sure will resonate even with viewers who aren’t necessarily fans of the Beautiful Game.”
Stephen Innes – firstname.lastname@example.org