In recent years, American football has been on the rise abroad. Countries like Germany are leading the charge in developing the sport through their own professional leagues and myriad teams based in their biggest cities. However, one small-town team rose to prominence throughout the 2010s, becoming one of the most terrifying teams in all of Europe – the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns. Unicorns are now getting their own documentary titled Unicorn Town and the first trailer shows how such a small team took the German Football League by storm and earned their place in an ever-expanding field.
unicorn city is a unicorn among sports documentaries because it is directed by the Schwäbisch Hall player Nick Alfieri. The doc follows a group of American professionals, including Alfieri, who have teamed up with German amateurs from Schwäbisch Hall to form a super team. The Unicorns have become an icon of German football as one of the favorites for a title year after year, all without the financial resources of their competitors. Hailing from a city of just 40,000 people, they compete as underdogs and still manage to get by. Yet, as more money is inevitably pumped into the game, the question arises as to whether they can continue to compete despite the constraints placed on them or are doomed to disappear.
The trailer begins by showing the transcendent popularity of unicorns in their hometown. Thanks to years of domination, no one in Schwäbisch Hall knows who he is. The team is firmly rooted in the culture of the city, drawing massive crowds and handing out autographs. With all the hometown love, however, comes the heartbreaking reality of being a small-town team and the fear of being left out by bigger New York Yankees-type teams like the Braunschweig Lions. This is a problem not only for the fans, but also for the players and the coaches. Many Americans, like Alfieri, found opportunities at Schwäbisch Hall that did not exist for them at home. Through a mix of interviews with players and European sports figures, Alfieri shows what it means to have a team to rally around and be a part of.
unicorn city is written, directed, edited and produced by Alfieri who also serves as the narrator. Alfieri played college football in the United States before heading overseas to join the Unicorns in 2015. He dabbled in production in the past, serving as a co-producer on a former football player arena turned director. Brent Craftit is Distinguished. Craft returns the favor with Alfieri’s directorial debut, as the film’s producer. The film also comes from Gravitas Ventures and was made in association with NFL Films.
Alfieri is joined on-screen by the legendary Unicorns coach Siegfried Gehrkefeared the GFL pass thrower Devin Bentonformer NFL player turned GFL leading wide receiver Tyler “Rudy” Rutenbeckand Moritz Bohringerthe first European player to enter the NFL Draft. Jordan Neumann, Thomas “Smoke” Rauch, Marco Ehrenfried, Cody Pastorino, Joseph ‘Jojo’ Joyner, Jerome Manyema, Bruno Michetti, Daniel Docaland Gerhard ‘Jerry’ Jäger complete the cast.
Producers for unicorn city include Oscar winner Andre Carlberg and Emmy winner Paul Pawlowski next to Sven Loffler, Paul Monusky, Danny Hamouie, Matthieu Nemethand Natassja Eckerstrom alongside Alfieri and Craft. The Carolina Panthers star running back is also attached to the film. Christian McCaffrey which produces by the executive. McCaffrey joined the project in 2019 partly out of interest — he has a minor in film — but his ties to the production run deep as his Stanford roommate and best friend was Alfieri’s brother. Joey Alfieri.
unicorn city releases August 19. Check out the trailer below.