Line producing of “Superleague: War for Football” – A Journey into Documentary Filmmaking for AppleTV+

How often do we watch a gripping documentary series and marvel at its seamless storytelling and captivating visuals, without truly understanding the immense effort and meticulous planning that goes on behind the scenes?

“Super League: War for Football”, a groundbreaking documentary series for Apple TV+ directed by Jeff Zimbalist that explores the intricate world of professional football, is a perfect example of the monumental undertaking that is documentary filmmaking. Additionally, the series has just received 2 nominations for Emmy Award for the best sports documentaries.



The Genesis of the Project
The inception of “Super League: War for Football” came about through a collaboration between Words + Pictures and All Rise Films, both renowned New York-based production companies specialising in documentary content, and a team of professionals from Studio Production House.


The task before Studio Production House was challenging: to line produce and capture visually stunning recreates of the pivotal events for the Super League story which took place throughout Europe: Italian Tuscany, Great Britain, Spain and Switzerland.

Bringing the Vision to Life
“War for Football” is not just a documentary—it’s a visual masterpiece crafted by an award-winning director Jeff Zimbalist (The Two Escobars, Favela Rising) to transport viewers into the heart of the footballing universe. Jeff’s creative ingenuity brought an extra layer of depth to the project.

Workflow was not typical for the documentary form as all the interviews with the key VIPs from the football elite had already been done. We at Studio Production House were provided with detailed storyboards on the bases of which we had to line produce and shoot visually appealing recreates of real events that propelled the story of Super League. The US producers knew in advance where they were going to place our shots in the editing sequence, so the editing process ran parallel to the filming of the recreates.

Most of the shooting took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia. But to meet demands of variety of locations we had to transform Ljubljana several times: we created a crowded Madrid restaurant with nearby traffic and pedestrians, we turned a picturesque villa nestled amidst Slovenia’s Karst into a Tuscany villa where we recreated high-end family celebration featuring 80 multigeneration cast, we turned a Ljubljana hotel into the British Parliament offices during rallies, Slovenian and Italian windy roads served as epic Switzerland for car sequences shot by drone. We also recreated a real English pub full of raving fans, a busy international hotel lobby with UEFA representatives, and we turned a Slovenian gas station into a Switzerland gas station where also one of the pivotal scenes took place.

A Journey of Collaboration and Creativity
From securing all permits to organizing locations, casting believable body doubles for prominent VIP football figures as well as multigenerational and multinational extras, to orchestrating complex multi-camera setups over the course of six months, a diverse team of professionals spared no effort to bring recreates for this documentary to life.

With its multilayered narrative and visually stunning storytelling, “Superleague: War for Football” offers a gripping exploration of the complex world of professional football. Director Jeff Zimbalist’s masterful storytelling captures the essence of the sport while shedding light on the behind-the-scenes machinations that shape its destiny. As viewers embark on this cinematic journey, they’ll discover a world where passion, politics, and power collide in the ultimate battle for supremacy.