Film Teaser
Stop video
Book your copy!



A film by Paolo Casalis
Available Fall 2018

Produced by    :   Produzioni Fuorifuoco
Genre    :   Creative Documentary, Bio
Duration    :   70'/ 52'
Format / Language    :   HD / English (Italian subtitles)

From genocide to the World Cup, the incredible story of Darfur United

To break the indifference on Darfur humanitarian crisis, an enterprising activist must create an all-refugee national football team and compete in the World Cup.

In Collaboration with Darfur United i-ACT
Under the Patronage of Darfur United Under the Patronage of Intalians for Darfur
With the Interest of Darfur United with the interest of UNHCR

The film will be out by the end of 2018
Book your copy today


In 2005 Gabriel Stauring, a young and enthusiast activist from California, decides to create an N.G.O. and move to Africa - always with a camera in his hand - to help the thousands of refugees from Darfur escaping from a cruel, dramatic civil war in Sudan.
Eight years after, Gabriel's enthusiasm is far less: he's risking his life and facing outstanding obstacles, but nobody is any longer interested in his mission. What could he do, to capture the world's attention?
In 2012, he creates "Darfur United", a soccer team made of young Darfuri 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".
Was it a cinic decision? A way to raise help by sweetening or partially hiding a hard reality? For sure, it worked. For the first time, people and media give attention to them.
Since then, Gabriel has followed the team with his camera, from the tryouts to the very first trainings, to the World Cup. No, not the prestigious FIFA one, but tournaments for unrecognized nations and ethnic groups: Occitania, Kurdistan, Tamil... and Darfur.
Through exclusive access to 500 hours of video footage directly filmed by Gabriel and the other film's characters, Not Just Football follows the vicissitudes of "Darfur United" team and its players. They've never been outside the refugee camps and everything for them is a real adventure, even just taking an escalator, looking at the shops' windows or playing on grass. The tournament goes on and the team is happy and United, but this can't last forever.
Moubark and Ismail, who were part of the team since the beginning, are among the nine players who escaped during a tournament in Sweden. Today they're still living there, trying to complete a long and complex path, from refugees to citizens, while Gabriel- who now is 52 years old - has to accept this "defeat" to continue his efforts to help through football.

Not Just Football.

  • 0
    Years of war
  • 0
    Football Players
  • 0
    Documentary movie
  • 0

Book your film copy and support our work!
(you will receive a link to stream/watch your film copy)

Book your film copy and support our work!
(you will receive a link to stream/watch your film copy)

Film Characters

In the latest years we've all seen dozens of documentaries about refugees and refugee crisis. Me too, I tought everything had already been said on this argument, so when I started working at the project - in early 2016 - I was attracted by its power and narrative potential but, for these reasons, I abandoned it for some months.
But suddenly I found the key to tell this story, and it appeared to me as something unique, for two different reasons. The first was the long and complex trajectory of the story, a narrative arc that covers almost 15 years and (quite a unique case!) is all well documented and filmed by his own characters. We had the exlusive to use more than 500 hours of video footage! The second was the original, provocative approach used by Gabriel Stauring.
"Ok, refugee stories are sad, and people don't like sad stories, let's give them something different, something they can like". And he creates a football team made of refugees.
At a first view, there could be something cinic and even wrong in all this thought, in this approach. But only at a first glance. Gabriel doesn't want to hide the refugees behind the smiling faces of a football team.
He uses football to let people talk of the refugees, to let people view and know something they would never have explored and faced in their life: the inner life of a refugee camp, hunger, poverty, death.
We've started working at "Not Just Football" in 2016.
Since the beginning we've decided to develop the project mainly by ourselves, with the strenghts of our production house Produzioni Fuorifuoco.
And this for two reasons.
First, because we felt the need to make the film in a short time. The film tells the story of Gabriel and his "creation"; but the theme in the background (refugees situation) was not new at all, on the contrary many documentaries had already faced this issue in all its facets.
But we thought (and still think) our film could give a new, original contribution to the argument. Our story faces the theme of refugees through a long and complex trajectory.
Watching the story of a 15 years long humanitarian crisis is like watching what could happen of the actual refugee crisis in a long term, in 10-15 years from now.v This is why we fell this is still an actual, urgent film.
Second reason why we've decided to work on this documentary by ourselves is the nature of the film itself.
It's mainly a found footage film, so it has been a "relatively" easy editing (just relatively, because we had to manage with over 500 hours of found footage).
We've obtained a close and helpful support of I-act, the NGO founded by our film's protagonist Gabriel Stauring, based in California.
The film has been done with patronage from "Italians for Darfur" association and from "UNHCR", and with the help of "CONIFA" and "VIVA World Cup" federations.
We have close relationships with all these partners, and they will help us in the film's promotion and diffusion. Produzioni Fuorifuoco detains all film rights, and is the only subject actually representing the film.
Gabriel Stauring is the film’s main protagonist
Through twelve years of shootings, we litelly see him evolving and aging inside the film, we follow all the steps of his long experience in the Darfuri refugee camps of Chad. In 2011 Gabriel starts thinking on creating a Darfur representative football team, also called Darfur United. Darfur United is an association football team representing Darfur, a region in western Sudan, founded by Gabriel Stauring in 2011. Their players all live in refugee camps in neighbouring Chad.
They have competed in the 2012 VIVA World Cup and the 2014 ConIFA World Football Cup.
Surely, they are not football champions, not at all. They’ve lost all matches 20-0, 30-0, but surely they haven’t lost the will to let people know about the drama of Darfur refugee camps, of their situation and problems.

In early 2003, two primarily Muslim non-Arab Darfuri rebel groups launched a rebellion against the government of Sudan.
The government responded to the rebellion by enlisting the help of some of the nomadic Arab tribes in Darfur, promising them land in exchange for their military allegiance. These groups formed militias known as the Janjaweed, and, with the support of the government, began wreaking havoc throughout Darfur.
Since the conflict began over ten years ago, approximately 300,000 people have lost their lives and an additional 4 million have been displaced from their homes.
Today, there are approximately 300,000 Darfuri refugees living in thirteen camps in Eastern Chad.
Sports programs, physical activity, and psychosocial support for children are all considered “non essential” by the United Nations.

3- i-ACT
i-ACT is a registered 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization based in Redondo Beach, CA
The i-ACT team visits refugee camps in Eastern Chad and provides daily video webcasting, interactive blogging, pictures, and continuous social media communication. Videos, photographs and testimonies from i-ACT are compiled and utilized to create multi-media presentations that build relationships between the survivors of Darfur and those who can act on their behalf.
Since 2005, i-ACT has visited the Darfuri refugee camps on the Chad-Sudan border more than 20 times.
i-ACT has created an all-refugee soccer team and youth academy made up of Darfuri refugees living in camps in Eastern Chad.

Not to be confused with the FIFA World Cup, every two years football players and fans meet for other, less know and almost mysterious Football World Cups.
In the VIVA and CONIFA World Cup, the participating teams represent a collection of unrecognized states, ethnic groups, islands and “frozen conflict” zones.
Abkhazia, Aramean Suryoye, Kurdistan, Tamil Eelam, Darfur United, Ellan Vannin, South Ossetia, Nagorno Karabakh, Padania, Occitania... These are some of the team names.
Regions or ethnic groups not recognized as a nation, stateless people (es the Romani People team), regions and micro- nations not affiliated to FIFA. Some just want to raise awareness of their unique culture and show the world they exist or, through soccer, raise awareness about humanitarian and social crisis, conflicts and civil wars.
Others hope for greater autonomy and perhaps, one day, even a nation of their own.
“Soccer helps provide an identify for all nations, a vision of their imagined community made real”, writes sport journalist Steve Menary.

Paolo Casalis

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

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.