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A film by Paolo Casalis
Film Premiere October 2018

(link alla versione italiana)

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

From genocide to a world tournament, 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 a world football tournament.

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 has been premiered at DocsMX Mexico City - AVAILABLE NOW IN STREAMING/DOWNLOAD
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(link alla versione Italiana)

In 2005, Gabriel Stauring, a young and enterprising activist from California, decides to travel to Africa - with a camera in hand - to do what he can to help the thousands of refugees from Darfur escaping from a cruel and dramatic civil war in Sudan.
Eight years later, Gabriel's enthusiasm is challenged with disappointment: he has since created an NGO and is still risking his life and facing outstanding obstacles, but the international community is no longer interested in his mission.
What can he do, to re-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.
Through exclusive access to 500 hours of video footage taken directly by Gabriel Stauring and other characters in the flim, Not Just Football follows the journey of Darfur United players, from the dust of the refugee camps to the lights of a world football tournament, and along the complex path of going from being refugees to becoming citizens.

Official Selection DocsMX - Mexico City
Official Selection Global Migration Film Festival
Official Selection MyART Festival
Official Selection Tercer Tiempo - Festival Mundial de Cine Fútbolero, Colombia
Official Selection 11MM Film Festival, Berlin
Official Selection Arcosanti Film Festival
Official Selection SHOOT Festival, Copenhagen

Not Just Football.

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    Years of war
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    Football Players
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    Documentary movie
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Subtitles available in English, Italian, Spanish

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Film Characters

We've decided to make a documentary based on material filmed by the same film's charachters - sometimes maybe a bit trembling or shacking, but that becomes secondary in the context of the story - because this would have given us a film full of emotions and passions.
Its mix of action (trough soccer) and social themes let us talk, between the lines, of current topics like immigration and refugees from a distant (Africa, 15 years ago) and original point of view.

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.
If he's cinic, it's not towards the refugees, but towards football. 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.
The film starts from this points, and keeps them as focal points for its structure and narrative development.

I think it's important to have a documentary like this NOW because Gabriel and the guys of Darfur United have already walked a long path that will be faced in the next years by all the thousands of refugees that just came or are still coming to Euope, to the US, to Asia.
In other words, due to the long narrative arc, this film gives an occasion to "watch the future", to face the potential, the problems and the difficulties that we (as host countries) and the refugees will find in the years yet to come.

In large part, Not Just Football is a "found-footage" documentary, collecting images filmed by someone else in another part of the world.
As a filmmaker, I've found this unusual approach as the best way to create something intimate, something real. I could not ask to my characters "Do this, tell me that", I could just "create" the movie using images made by the film's characters, with their feelings, sensibility, emotion, so this "found-footage" gives a great power and richness to the whole story.
Of course, the documentary could not be finished without answering a question: where are these refugees now? Where and how do they live, what happened to them?
So, we've moved to Sweden to film two Darfur United players, Moubark and Ismail, who are (together with Gabriel and Mark, the coach) the film's main characters.
Their stories are still open, even today, 15 years after the first time Gabriel moved to Africa.
15 years of filming are not enough to close the personal stories of the film's characters, maybe because reality is an ongoing and never-ending process, and people (Gabriel, Mubark, Ismail...) will just continue evolving and slightly moving, like the continental drift.
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 a serie of world tournaments.
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.


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.