|Genre||:||Documentary, Sport, Football, Bio, Africa|
When Gabriel Stauring landed in Chad for the first time, in 2005, he couldn’t imagine he would have founded a football team able to compete
for the World Cup.
Today, his attempts to end a 10-years long documentary project about all-refugee team Darfur United become a film-within-the-film and the metaphor of a 10-years long and unclosed migrant crisis, now more actual than ever.
An happy and winning story with a bitter taste, as the film, and football itself, are the only possible key to raise international attention on Darfur.
In Collaboration with
Under the Patronage of
With the Interest of
It is ten years now that Gabriel Stauring, US citizen and founder of ONG i-ACT, is working on the project of a documentary film. Though he’s not a film director, he has collected hours of shootings, building a full line up of characters and a detailed treatment.
In 2005 Gabriel 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 a unique, positive story, and to share it with the world.
He took an handycam and started filming, soon realizing most of his shootings showed people of all ages playing football, everywhere, with any weather condition, without shoes, on inconceivable football fields and with any kind of ball.
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: making a film about Darfur United team.
Since then, he is following with his camera the training and life of his film’s characters: Moubarag and Ismail, team players who now live in Sweden (where they asked for asylum in 2014) or Suleyman and Mubarak, who still live in the refugee camps of Chad.
“Darfur United” has already competed in 2012 and 2014 for the Football World Cup.
No, not the prestigious FIFA World Cup, but the Conifa one, a tournament for unrecognized states and ethnic groups.
But now it’s not a good moment for Darfur United: the film project is at a dead point and the team has not been selected for the World Cup 2016, a bad blow for Gabriel and his friends.
More than ever, his film project looks now like a perfect metaphor of all Darfuri refugee people, in the middle between a success story and a never-ending limbo.
Gabriel wants to react, he wants to organize something even greater and powerful than “Darfur United” football team.
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)
Stuffilm is a video production house based in Via Principi 6, Bra (CN, Italy)
specialized in film productions like feature lenght documentary films.
In our filmography there are documentary movies like Barolo Boys.The Story of a Revolution, Vetro Piano 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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