The woman who brought amputee soccer to Sierra Leone

Dee Malchow, Seattle-area retired nurse and amputee, who introduced amputee soccer to Sierra Leone's amputees

The Flying Stars profiles two founding members of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s amputee soccer/football team . They are their teammates created the first team at the end of that country’s civil war, but where did Bornor and Census hear about amputee soccer?

Remember that football (“soccer” to North Americans) rules Sierra Leone (and most of the world). Every child plays it. Adults devoutly follow U.K. Premier League games beamed from satellite TV. They wear the jerseys of their favourite players, like Canadians adorn the uniforms of hockey stars. But in early 2001, the civil war in Sierra Leone was completing a full, weary decade and amputees like Bornor and Census had gathered from around the country at a refugee camp in the capital of Freetown, overflowing with refugees.

One day in early 20...

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The Flying Stars premieres on new U.S. streaming service Kweli

Amputee Bornor from The Flying Stars documentary premieres on kweli TV streaming service

Americans can now see The Flying Stars as it premieres on kweli TV. This is the full 65-minute version running on this new streaming service offering the best in global black filmmaking. Even better, anyone in the States can try a free preview of kweli TV for seven days. Click here to view!

In this theatrical cut, first seen at the world premiere at the 2014 Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM), team captain Bornor (pictured in red above) of The Flying Stars amputee football club of Freetown, Sierra Leone is profiled along with his teammate, Census. As they pass and score on the soccer pitch, both Bornor and Census struggle to feed their families and come to grips with the post-traumatic stress they suffered from the decade-long civil war...

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The Flying Stars returns to Documentary Channel tonight

back of Census, player on The Flying Stars amputee football club watching practice in Freetown, Sierra Leone

We’re back! The Flying Stars are back on TVs across Canada tonight on Documentary Channel at 10 pm EST (then 1 am and  5 am)! Tune in, if you missed us the first time around. Check your local cable provider for the channel.

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The Flying Stars premieres on Canadian TV March 6

The Flying Stars documentary graphic featuring player Bornor, premiering on Documentary Channel

The Flying Stars leap out of Canadian TVs! Join us for this premiere on Monday, March 6 at 7:00 pm, free to all on CBC’s Documentary Channel. Check your local listings for the channel number (i.e. 325).

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The Flying Stars make African debut in Ghana

poster of 2016 Black Star International Film Festival of Ghana where The Flying Stars screens

The Flying Stars will make its African premiere at the Black Star International Film Festival in Accra, Ghana on August 25The Flying Stars plays on the opening day of Black Star, at 6:30 pm at James Town (Brazil House).

Filmmakers Allan and Ngardy are excited that their film is reaching Africa. Ghana lies near Sierra Leone, just east and also nestled against the Atlantic Ocean. The amputees in The Flying Stars have often played fellow amputees in Ghana in tournaments.

The Bo regional amputee soccer team in practice.

The Bo regional amputee soccer team in practice. (Photo: Johnny Vong)

Captain of The Flying Stars Bornor cooking for his children at home in Freetown.

Captain of The Flying Stars, Bornor, cooking for his children (photo: Johnny Vong)

 

 

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The Flying Stars dazzle Oakville

theatre poster of The Flying Stars film before screening at Willson Oakville Film Festival

The Flying Stars returned to the Toronto area Sunday afternoon with a screening at the Willson Oakville Film Festival. Co-director, Allan Tong, presented the film to a near-capacity cinema, which boasted a gorgeous two-storey-high screen and a rich sound system. The Flying Stars was paired with another documentary about sport and disability, 8% No Limit.

Co-director Allan Tong doing Q&A after Willson Oakville Film Festival screening

The audience asked Allan perceptive questions such as, “Who started amputee soccer? and “Has the film helped the team find sponsors?” The answers, respectively, are retired American nurse Dee Malchow, herself an amputee who did volunteer work in Sierra Leone; and yes, including our fundraiser last month at the Gladstone Hotel.

audience at Willson Oakville Film Festival during post-screen Q&A (photo- Mark Zelinski)

The final question was: “What else that you shot for the film that you couldn’t put in? The answer was that we ...

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Meet the Makers: Oakville film fest talks to Flying Stars directors

“There are themes of family and the need for family and belonging. These men are not always considered as being part of the community.”

Read more at this interview of directors, Allan Tong and Ngardy Conteh George, by the Willson Oakville Film Festival, where The Flying Stars screens on June 26.

page capture of Willson Oakvile Film Festival interview with the filmmakers of The Flying Stars documentary

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Fundraiser continues to lift Flying Stars amputee players

Two attendees study framed photos of The Flying Stars soccer players, shot by Fiona Aboud and Johnny Vong.

Patrons view and buy Johnny Vong's photos of The Flying Stars players at fundraiser.All photos by Sierra Nallo unless noted

On May 12, supporters filled the Gladstone Hotel ballroom on Toronto’s hip Queen St. West to raise money for The Flying Stars amputee football (soccer) club of Freetown, Sierra Leone and the Bo Team in the southern region of Sierra Leone.  (For those who couldn’t attend the fundraiser, you can still support the players by buying photographic prints and Sierra Leonean wood carvings at our new online store. This site will also accept donations on behalf of the Flying Stars team.)

Co-director Ngardy Conteh George updates audience on The Flying Stars players and their income-generating plans.

Fundraiser organizer and co-director Ngardy Conteh George (above) gave an update on the teams and details on their income-generating initiatives and goals. You can find out more details about both teams initiatives here.

Co-director Allan Tong poses with two happy owners of Fiona Aboud's portrait of a Flying Stars player.photo: Sally Warburton

Attendees snapped up beauti...

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The Flying Stars soar to Willson Oakville Film Festival

Inside Halton press clip (May 13-2016) PHOTO ONLY

The Flying Stars returns to the GTA with a June 26, 12:30 pm screening at the Willson Oakville Film Festival, west of Toronto. Our film will be paired with another documentary about sport and disability, 8% No Limit.

“This story is not only about overcoming disability, but also PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), which is something that crosses all borders…,” said co-director Allan Tong at last week’s festival launch. (Click the photo above to read a full report of the festival.)

Tickets are on sale for all festival screenings, and Allan will be present on June 26. Join us!

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May 12 fundraiser to help The Flying Stars amputees

poster of May 12 fundraiser to help The Flying Stars amputees

Help a one-legged man fly! Join us Thursday, May 12, 7-10 pm at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St. W. at Gladstone) to support The Flying Stars amputee soccer team, the stars of our documentary. To become self-sufficient, Bornor and his teammates are raising money to open a tailoring shop and internet cafe in Freetown, Sierra Leone. All funds raised at this May 12 fundraiser go directly to Bornor’s team.

The evening will feature live African music by Kobèna Aquaa-Harrison who scored the film, a joint exhibition by photographers Fiona Aboud (in attendance from New York) and Johnny Vong who shot our poster (the left and right frames of the poster above), Sierra Leonean masks & artwork, silent auction of these photos and masks, food by Chef Philman George (The Rhyming Chef) and exc...

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