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The Flying Stars returns to Documentary Channel tonight

We’re back tonight on Documentary Channel at 10pm 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 make African debut in Ghana


The Flying Stars will make its African premiere at the Black Star International Film Festival in Accra, Ghana on August 25.

The 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.

BO practice 2011 - IMG_0770

Above: The Bo regional team in practice. Below: Bornor cooking for his children. (photos: Johnny Vong)



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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 add a few more images to remember that sold-out screening:

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

by Cody Turner (1)

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

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Directors Allan Tong & Ngardy Conteh George

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

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)

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What does football mean to Sierra Leone?

What does the Beautiful Game of football (soccer to North Americans) mean to the people of Sierra Leone? Find out in this outtake from our film, The Flying Stars, shot in Freetown and Bo in 2011 and 2012:

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How to help the amputees of Sierra Leone

Lynn Pelton & SL amputees by Jim Pelton LOWRES

You can help the soccer players and other amputees and disabled of Sierra Leone by donating through the American registered non-profit organization, Greatest Goal Ministries. (To donate specifically to the Flying Stars team, please include their name when you donate on GGM’s website).

GGM is devoted to aiding Sierra Leone’s amputees through health care, education and disability sports including soccer (football).  The NGO has been sponsoring Bornor, Census and their teammates for many years, led by Seattle registered nurse, Lynn Pelton (above) and her husband, Dr. James Pelton.

Given the current Ebola outbreak, GGM has been especially busy...

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Civil war & PTSD in Sierra Leone

BORNOR head bowed T5616x3744-00259 LOWRES

The Flying Stars is about an amputee soccer team in Sierra Leone, but the film really profiles survivors of the bitter civil war that gripped Sierra Leone from 1991-2002. The war never completely left team captain Bornor (above), midfielder Census and their teammates on The Flying Stars. The nightmares and other symptoms that continue to haunt them is called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  In this documentary, Bornor and his teammates cope by playing soccer.

The outer world largely ignored the civil war which ravaged Sierra Leone, a poor west African nation. The Flying Stars does not trace the causes or developments of this war, but the conflict boiled down to a toxic combination of poverty, corruption and rich diamond deposits that invading forces from Liberia ruthlessly sought.

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Meet CENSUS, midfielder on The Flying Stars

CENSUS's soccer card

Player: Mohamed “Census” Jalloh

Years Active: 2004-present

Past World Tournaments: none yet

Family: son, Suleiman

Home: Freetown, Sierra Leone

Occupation: Officer worker, GIZ (German NGO)

“Census” was a boy of 15 when he lost his right foot – and family – in the civil war.  Like so many of his countrymen, the displaced young man drifted to the capital after the war.  And like his captain, Bornor, Census still endures the trauma of his amputation to this day. Census eventually joined an amputee soccer team that had just formed, and found a new family – his teammates. The seven of them went on to share a tiny shack – resting on the site of the refugee camp where they first met – until they are evicted. See what happens to Census in the documentary, The Flying Stars, premiering at RIDM in...

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Meet BORNOR, captain of amputee soccer team The Flying Stars

BORNOR's soccer card

Player: Bornor Kargbo

Position: Defender & Captain

Years Active: 2002-present

Past World Tournaments: Brazil, Russia, Turkey (Amputee World Cups), United Kingdom (friendly)

Family: wife, Manoir & four children

Home: Leicester Peak, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Previous career: Soldier in the Sierra Leone army during civil war

A proud Sierra Leonean, captain Bornor wears the national colours, blue-white-green, on his head during every game as he leads his amputee soccer team. Bornor is known for his ferocious play and inspiring spirit, leading amputee players over the past decade to victory on soccer pitches across Africa and the world.

Bornor leads another team off the pitch: his wife, Manoir, and their four young children...

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5 Little-Known Facts About Sierra Leone

The Flying Stars takes place in Sierra Leone, a country that few people know of apart from the current Ebola epidemic. Here are five basic facts to illuminiate you about this west African nation:

1) Sierra Leone is safe. The most frequent question people ask The Flying Stars directors, Allan and Ngardy, is, “Is Sierra Leone dangerous?” The answer: no. In fact, Ngardy felt safer walking through the capital of Freetown than in parts of Toronto.

Street in downtown Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. (photo: Allan Tong)

Street in downtown Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone.

2) Sierra Leone was a British colony.  Many assume from the name that Sierra Leone was a French colony, but in fact the British controlled the country for many decades until granting it independence in 1961...

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The 6 Rules of Amputee Soccer

Bornor headshotTo recover from the trauma of the civil war of the 90s, amputees across Sierra Leone began playing soccer (football) over a decade ago.  Today, over 150 amputees play in organized teams across this west African country.

“You have to train to balance your weight, how to suspend, and how to run with the crutches,” explains captain of The Flying Stars, Bornor Kargbo, who has been playing amputee soccer for over a decade in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

He explains the rules of The Beautiful Game adapted for amputees:

1) The soccer ball cannot touch your crutches or the stump of your amptuated leg.

2) The goalkeeper must not touch the ball with his amputated arm.


3) Field players (forwards and defenders) play on crutches and must have an amputated leg.

4) Goalkeepers must have an amputated hand o...

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