Finally, the Quidditch documentary Muggles everywhere have been waiting for
Attention Muggleborns! Your time has arrived.
For anyone who fell in love with J.K. Rowling’s incomparable Harry Potter novels and wished they were real (because, let’s face it — Hogwarts is so much cooler than any school we’ve ever been to), there’s a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel that’s bringing at least a sliver of the Harry Potter universe to real life.
Mudbloods, a documentary released earlier this year about intercollegiate Quidditch teams, follows the journey of the scrappy and promising UCLA Quidditch squad as they train up for the 5th Annual Quidditch World Cup back in 2012. The film, directed by Farzad Sangari, highlights exactly what it means to live out your Potter-fueled dreams, and the highs and lows that come with that journey.
Started as an official IRL sport in 2005 at Middlebury College, Quidditch began as a hobby for its Middlebury founders Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe but it quickly snowballed into something much grander. As it currently stands, the International Quidditch Association (IQA) and U.S. Quidditch (USQ) host thousands of intercollegiate and community teams across six continents.
Mudbloods follows UCLA Quidditch founder and team captain, Tom Marks, tracking the daily routines and struggles of transferring a fictional sport into reality. “My [older brother] would always call me a ‘Mudblood’, and I never knew what it meant,” laughs Tom in the film. “And finally one day he told me, ‘It means you come from a non-magical background, but you have magical powers because you started a Quidditch team.’ And I thought, ‘You are the biggest dork ever.’ But then again . . . I play Quidditch, so.”
Starting a Quidditch squad on a college campus isn’t the easiest thing to do and it unfortunately comes with more than its fair share of name calling — a theme that runs central in the film. Putting up with snide commentary seems to be a regular thing for each team member. “Whenever you create something new, you’re always facing an uphill battle,” Middlebury’s Alex tells the director during the film. “My freshman year of college, we were sitting on a lawn at Middlebury after our first season of Quidditch, and a group of upper-classmen walked by. One of them said, loudly enough for us to hear, ‘I can’t wait for those FREAKS to play Quidditch again so that we can laugh at them.’ I couldn’t believe that someone would actually say that — that you would burn that bridge with someone you didn’t even know . . . that you could pass judgment on their entire life based on one activity.” The beauty is in the fact that the Quidditch players keep on playing. Haters gonna hate.
After pushing through a rough (and sometimes clumsy) start, the film shows how intercollegiate and community Quidditch began catching on across the country. As Mudbloods explains, the sport is now WAY more than just a fandom obsession — some players even admit to never having read the books — it has spun into a global phenomenon.
“It was exhilarating to be able to spend time with, and document, such a distinct mix of individuals who are filled with so much creativity and passion,” says Sangari. “Not all of them came to Quidditch for the same reasons, but they all share characteristics that are rare and inspiring . . . They are all wonderful characters in the midst of an exciting journey that I was just lucky enough to stumble upon.”
It looks like the sport built on brooms and Quaffles no longer only happens in the magical world of books. Awesome students have turned the once fictional sport into an everyday reality. And Mudbloods documents every step of that journey.
[Image via and Bond/360 and Film Attack.]