|Produced by||:||Produzioni Fuorifuoco|
|Genre||:||Documentary, Sport, Football, Bio, Africa|
An all-refugee national football team competes in the World Cup to break the indifference on Darfur humanitarian crisis.
In 2004 Gabriel Stauring, founder of N.G.O. I-ACT, is among the firsts to move to Africa - always with his camera in his hand- to help the thousands of refugees from Darfur.
Eight years after, Gabriel realizes that nobody is any longer interested in his mission.
What could he do, to capture YOUR attention?
In 2012, he creates "Darfur United", a soccer team made of young refugees living in the camps of Chad, representing an unexisting state.
"These are not refugees", Gabriel provokes, "don't look at them as refugees, this is Just Football".
And it works!
For the first time, people and media give attention to them.
Moubarag and Ismail, who were part of the team who competed in the World Cup for un-recognized nations, now live in Sweden. Tthey asked asylum after having escaped during a tounament, today they're trying to complete a long and complex path, from refugees to citizens.
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In 2005 Gabriel Stauring, founder of NGO i-ACT, moved to Africa for the first time, to give his help to more than 280.000 refugees from Darfur who had settled in the refugee camps of Chad.
This unheard-of humanitarian crisis still continues today, though it has never been front-page news nor does it now, as the new Europe migrant crisis is covering all media.
Gabriel soon realized the world was not interested in hearing stories of war, poverty and hunger.
To raise attention, he had to search for something different and new.
In a land of war and massacres, he had to tell a unique, positive story, and to share it with the world. What does everybody in the world like? Football, that was his instant answer.
In 2011, to raise attention on Darfur crisis, Gabriel founded Darfur United, a football team made up of refugees from the 12 different camps, and his project became more precise: to use football to close the distance between the refugees and the rest of the world, to raise people's attention.
Was it a cinic decision? For sure, it worked.
Since then, Gabriel has followed the team with his camera, from the team's selection to the very first trainings, to the Kurdistan Viva World Cup 2013. No, not the prestigious FIFA World Cup, but the Conifa one, a tournament for unrecognized states and ethnic groups.
Moubarag and Ismail played respectively as midfielder and goalkeeper in the team who competed in Kurdistan, losing all matches by 10-0 or 20-0, but scoring the first, hitorical goal in Darfur history.
In 2014, during an international competition in Sweden, they escaped and asked for asylum.
Their stories are quite the opposite. On soccer fields, Ismail was always positive and smiling, while Moubarak injured his knee and didn't have a good time. Today, Moubarag speaks fluent english and swedish, works in the staff of Ostersund's football team and is well insterted in swedish society. Ismail, on the contrary, stills feels like a refugee in a foreign country, and sometimes dreams of coming back to the refugees camp.
"Not Just Football" is a film telling almost 15 years of story of his characters, from 2004 up to 2018.
Not (A refugee story) Just Football.
Gabriel is the Founder and Executive Director at i-ACT, a California based non-profit.
In addition to visiting the refugee camps on the Chad-Darfur more than 20 times, Gabriel has spearheaded campaigns such as the 100-Day Fast for Darfur, Darfur Freedom Summer Vigils, Camp Darfur, Darfur Fast for Life, and innovative programs like Darfur United and Little Ripples.
In 2012 Gabriel founded Darfur United football team. At the beginning it was just a team formed to take part in an international competition, then it has become much more, a team that represents an entire people, and a way to raise attention on Darfuri people, using a simple and attractive language: football. After more than 10 years, he considers the people of Darfur no longer as people to help, but as friends.
Moubarag is part of Darfur United team since its formation. He is a talentuous soccer player, but his life has been full of sport accidents. In 2014, during the 1st match against Padania, he had a serious injury.
Days after, only 10 team players remained available, since many of them had escaped from the tournament to ask for asylum in Sweden. Moubarag was still injured, but he succeeded in playing, thus becoming Gabriel’s personal hero.
Today Moubarag lives in Sweden, in Ostersund, where he decided to stay after the match. He is studying enlish, he is a young, brilliant guy who has just received a 2-years valid visa and is trying to insert himself into swedesh sociery: he is looking for a job, he uses facebook and has swedish friends, he has started to play soccer in a smalled local team called Brunflo.
Ismail is Darfur United’s goalkeeper. More than a decade ago his mother was walking in the market when their village was attacked by militia. (HERE, an article about Ismail’s story).
Her husband was shot and as he lay wounded, he told her to gather their seven children and escape.
Ismail’s mother walked with her children for 20 days across the desert, with no food or water in a bid to reach the border of neighbouring Chad. For almost 11 years, Ismail and his family have lived in a tented refugee camp in eastern Chad.
In 2014 he went with the team to Sweden for their 1st international tournament.
On that occasion, he asked for asylum in Sweden and remained there. It’s two years that Adam lives near Goteburg, he has found a job in a chinese restaurant.
from i-ACT’s website, an article by Gabriel Stauring:
If someone was writing a fictional movie about Darfur United and their journey to scoring their first ever international goal, Mubarak Haggar is exactly who you’d want to be the hero. Mubarak was chosen to be the striker for his all-refugee team, and strike he did.
The first goal came at the start of the second half of their last game at the Viva World Cup for Darfur United. Mubarak put the ball on the far left corner and in to the net, and he ran and jumped into history.
He knew that the moment he just helped shape was resonating all the way to Africa, in refugee camps up and down the Chad-Sudan border, and in Darfur, the land he escaped from because of violence. On his face, pride.
Sulyeman is one of the team vetherans. He is part of Darfur United since 2012, when the players met form the very first time to
compete for 20 available places.
Since the beginning, Sulyeman has had a very important role in Darfur United because he was one of the few darfuri guys with a good english, so not only was the team’s captain, but he also acted like a “2nd coach” on the field, passing the instructions of coach Mark Hodgson to his teammates.
“Maybe some visitors will ask us, you are refugees in Chad, can you describe how the life is, what is the difference between here and there? I think this is a moment of history. We hope to tell everybody the history of Darfur, how we made Darfur United, and how we got here, who supports us, who is helping us and what we hope will happen.”
Born in Bra (Italy), 1976.
In 2014 he’s author of Barolo Boys. The Story of a Revolution, one of the most successful italian independent documentaries of the year.
Langhe Doc - Stories of heretics in the Italy of warehouses (52’ - 2011)
The Runner (52’ - 2010)
The People of Terra Madre (26’ - 2009)
Produzioni Fuorifuoco is a video production and distribution house based Bra, Italy
In our filmography there are documentary movies like Barolo Boys.The Story of a Revolution and Langhe Doc. Stories of heretics in the Italy of warehouses, these last two in the nominees for David di Donatello prize, the Oscar for italian documentary movies.
i-ACT is a registered 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization based in Redondo Beach, CA
i-ACT seeks to empower individuals within communities, institutions, and governments to take personal responsibility to act on behalf of those affected by genocide, mass atrocities, and crimes against humanity.
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