Tuesday, August 9, 2011

TIFF’s Pitch This! selects amputee soccer documentary LEONE STARS to compete for $10,000

TORONTO (August 11, 2011) - The film Leone Stars is one of six finalists chosen to compete at Toronto International Film Festival’s Pitch This! It is the sole documentary this year and only the second doc in the 12-year history of Pitch This! to battle for the $10,000 development prize.

Leone Stars co-directors Allan Tong and Ngardy Conteh will pitch on Tuesday, September 13 in Cinema 3 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. From noon till 1:30 pm, six pitching teams will have six minutes each to present their project before a live audience and a jury of film professionals. If Leone Stars wins, it will mark an historic year for documentaries at TIFF. From the Sky Down is opening 2011 TIFF as the first-ever doc to hold that honour.

Bono - Defender

Leone Stars follows members of Sierra Leone Single-Leg Amputee Sports Club who are chosen for the national amputee soccer team. They were young boys when rebel soldiers hacked off their arms and legs during Sierra Leone’s ruthless civil war. Surviving poverty, war, and prejudice, the Sierra Leone amputee soccer team dreams of victory at the 2012 world championships. Leone Stars asks: Can victims become champions?
Leone Stars was the first documentary in English Canada to successfully raise $20,000 in funding on the popular crowdfunding site, Kickstarter.com. The funds allowed the production team to take a three-week trip to Sierra Leone capital, Freetown, and the southern province of Bo earlier this year. Additional funding is needed to follow the team to the world championships in 2012.

Leone Stars began in 2008 when Allan Tong saw photos of the team taken by New York photographer Fiona Aboud. Allan enlisted Ngardy as editor then co-director. Halifax producer Walter Forsyth came on board and enlisted Jerry McIntosh, who manages the Feature Documentary Program at the Canadian Film Centre, as the executive producer. Endorsed by War Child Canada Leone Stars is seeking broadcast partners and private investment.

To attend Pitch This! please visit TIFF.net for ticket and pass information.

902.492.1047 (Walter Forsyth, producer)
647.200.9146 (Allan Tong, co-director)
416.897.5575 (Ngardy Conteh, co-director)


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