Category Blog

Freetown vs. Bo Flying Stars rematch on Disability Day

The Flying Stars amputee soccer team posing on Aberdeen Beach in Freetown

The Freetown and Bo region Flying Stars teams will square off to celebrate the UN’s Disability Day on December 3. It’s a rematch of the game captured in the documentary.  “This football match is to showcase how peaceful and united we are,” adds the Freetown club’s manager, Mohamed “Census” Jalloh who appears in the film. “We want to preach peace.”

Sierra Leonean carved wooden masks on sale to support the amputees

Supporters around the world can help the teams cover the costs of their transport to the soccer pitch and the rental fee of that field. You can safely donate here either by giving directly to the team or buying authentic Sierra Leonean wood carvings (above) and portraits of the team by associate producer and New York photographer Fiona Aboud and the film’s photographer, Johnny Vong. Similar items were sold at our fundraiser in May 201...

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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 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 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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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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Toronto premiere: photo album

There was no shortage of social media coverage of The Flying Stars’ recent Toronto premiere at the Toronto Black Film Festival. Here we present a photo album to remember that sold-out screening:

Directors Allan Tong, Ngardy Conteh George & associate producer Fiona Aboud at Toronto premiere

Left to right: Directors Allan Tong, Ngardy Conteh George & associate producer Fiona Aboud (photo: Cody Turner)

Directors Ngardy Conteh George and Allan Tong do a post-screening Q&A before capacity audience

The 15-minute Q&A session with the capacity audience. (photo: Cody Turner)

Directors Allan Tong & Ngardy Conteh George after the sold-out screening.

Directors Allan Tong & Ngardy Conteh George

Directors Ngardy Conteh George & Allan Tong during the post-screening Q&A

Directors Ngardy Conteh George & Allan Tong during the post-screening Q&A

Moments before the screening, associate producer Fiona Aboud and co-editor, Tiffany Beaudin chat in the cinema.

Moments before the screening. Associate producer Fiona Aboud (in black) and co-editor, Tiffany Beaudin (in white) are chatting in the second row. (photo: Guillermo Lozza, Toronto Black Film Festival)


Schedule board proclaims sold-out screening for The Flying Stars at Toronto Black Film Festival

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The Flying Stars sells out Toronto premiere

capacity crowd attends Toronto premiere of The Flying Stars documentary

The Flying Stars returned home on Friday evening and played to a packed house at the Toronto Black Film Festival. The Feb. 12 screening marked the Toronto premiere after award-winning screenings across North America.

“Awesome” and “amazing,” Tweeted audience members that included friends and family members of both directors, Allan Tong and Ngardy Conteh George, as well as Kickstarter supporters. Everybody stayed for the 15-minute Q&A with the directors (as well as Anna Musso, the writer/director of the fine fictional short film, Run Fast, that preceded The Flying Stars). 

Ngardy Conteh George & Allan Tong  (photo by Jennifer Campbell)

Allan recounted how he began the film in spring 2008 when he first saw the images of the Sierra Leonean amputee soccer players shot by New York pho...

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