Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey finds success in German American football film venture

By Augusta Stone, Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE – Christian McCaffrey can now add another title to his ongoing list of achievements: executive producer.

The Panthers’ star running back played a role backing the upcoming film “Unicorn Town,” which documents the underdog journey of Germany’s Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, a team playing American football in the German Football League.

“I think part of my role was being a name that people know to get in (meetings), which is realistic,” McCaffrey said. “I think that happens a lot. Another part of it too was that it was an experience for me.”

Unicorn Town

McCaffrey’s face lit up as he discussed the years-long process behind getting the film off the ground. He has a close relationship with the family of Nick Alfieri, who directed, wrote, and edited “Unicorn Town” after signing with the team as a linebacker out of Georgetown in 2015.

Nick Alfieri led the Unicorns to two league championship wins in the German Bowl from 2017-18. He filmed his experiences with the Schwäbisch Hall team, which represented a city of fewer than 41,000 residents as of 2020.

Nick Alfieri’s younger brother, Joey Alfieri, was one of McCaffrey’s college roommates at Stanford. McCaffrey, who said he grew up with a passion for cinema, was a film minor in college.

Joey Alfieri, Christian McCaffrey

David Madison/Getty

So when he was approached with the opportunity to back the project along with Nick Alfieri and his Georgetown teammate Brent Craft (who also had film writing and directing experience), McCaffrey was all in.

“One, I could give some exposure to it,” McCaffrey said. “But I also minored in film in college, so I was super excited for it. None of us knew where this was going to go.”

McCaffrey estimated he’d been in the process with Alfieri and Craft for about four years, flying out to Los Angeles for meetings with distribution companies to get the film off the ground.

He said the process involved a lot of learning – and early rejections.

“They needed a little backing to get their foot in the door,” McCaffrey said. “Some of these people were football fans, and it was funny because there were times where you’d meet someone who was a fan, and then they’d tell you ‘no.’ That was that.”

Unicorn Town

But just a few weeks ago, McCaffrey received a phone call from Alfieri. The film had been picked up by a distribution company and was set for an August release.

“This has been six or seven years now of him not just filming and editing it but leaving his entire American life and going into a small town in Germany to play football and make a documentary about it,” McCaffrey said. “I was so happy for him.

“Overall, it was such a good experience,” McCaffrey said. “We didn’t know what was going to come of it. We were eager to learn. We didn’t come in with any preconceived notions of how it was going to be. We kind of evaluated each meeting in and of itself and took it one at a time.”