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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 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 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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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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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 filmThe 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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