Ruane planning documentary on Brazilian soccer

On the field and in the stands, the artistry and passion of Brazilian soccer has long captivated people around the world. Now, John Ruane is hoping to capture that spirit in another format: On film.

Ruane, a longtime Wilton resident who worked in production at NBC Sports for nearly 20 years, is planning a four-part television documentary entitled Beautiful Game: The Epic Romance of Brazilian Soccer, which would air right before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

“There is a magical quality to Brazilian soccer,” said Ruane, who has won 11 Emmy Awards, primarily as an operations producer with NBC Sports. “There is a joy and style that also is evident in other aspects of Brazilian culture, such as music, film and art. It goes beyond soccer.”

Ruane, who left NBC sports in early 2007 to start his own production company, has been working on the project for two years. His original partner, a Nike executive with ties to South America, dropped out about a year ago, but Ruane remained committed.

“Even though Brazil has won a record five World Cups and exported more soccer players than any other country, there hasn’t been a documentary that captures the essence of Brazilian soccer and what it means not only to Brazil itself but also to soccer fans in other countries,” said Ruane.

Ruane, who is producing the documentary through his company, Counterweight Productions, says there will be four episodes: How Brazilians view themselves through soccer; how the rest of the world views Brazil through soccer; the stars of Brazilian soccer; and the country’s preparation for the 2014 World Cup.

“We have plenty of great footage already, and we will be shooting through 2013,” said Ruane, whose team has more than 50 Emmy Awards combined. “We have production people and contacts in Brazil working on locations and setting up interviews.”

Ruane’s goal is to eventually partner with different entities to do the distribution plan in-house.

“That is what we prefer,” he said. “The other option is to sell the documentary outright to a big media company.

“I think you are looking at a target audience of a billion people worldwide,” added Ruane. “And that is the broadcast audience. It could reach more people through a DVD on top of that.”

Ruane has already finished a sizzle reel, or trailer, which he hopes will resonate with potential investors. He said the documentary would cost around $3 million in total.

“It’s something I’ve invested time in and feel passionate about,” he said. “There is a great story to be told about the impact of Brazilian soccer, and I want to tell it.”