Entertainment September 13, 2012 at 12:00 am

Rollaball: Inspiring Story of Ghana’s Resilient Skate Soccer Team

Sandra Appiah | Contributor, F2FA

Sandra Appiah September 13, 2012 at 12:00 am

September 13, 2012 at 12:00 am | Entertainment

Rollaball’s story has already inspired people across the world. The documentary will tell the story of Ghana’s skate soccer team, a group of polio survivors who have created a skateboard-inspired version of soccer adapted to suit their disability. Begging and sleeping on the streets, without the use of their legs, these men find purpose and joy in playing ball on Sundays at a deserted taxi-rank, where for a few hours, they can be heroes.

"Our film focuses on people with disabilities who live on the streets of Accra, Ghana. While they appear to be victims of poverty, they are taking control of their lives through sports.
Films about Africa tend to focus on stories that deal with victims of war, poverty, sexual violence and AIDS. These stories reinforce the one-dimensional stereotypes of Africa as a helpless victim.
We intend for Rollaball to help break these misunderstandings and contribute to changing these stereotypes," says one of the producers.

There are only 10 days left to pledge your support on Kickstarter for Rollaball, a documentary about an inspiring team of Ghanaian polio survivors pioneering an extreme sports hybrid of skateboarding and soccer.

So far, Rollaball has received $13 451 from 114 supporters from all over the world. Big World Cinema producer Steven Markovitz (Viva Riva!, Encounters Documentary Festival) says, “We’re so thankful for the support we’ve received so far. According to a recent study by Ethan Mollick at The University of Pennsylvania, the average successful Kickstarter campaign raises an average of $7 800, so we’re already well over that. Out of the 70 000+ projects since Kickstarter launched, we're in the top 3 500 campaigns of all time that have raised over $10 000, so we’re already in the top 5%. But we’ve still got a long way to go to reach our goal of $35 000.”

The documentary now needs to raise just over $21 500 in 10 days to reach its goal before the Kickstarter campaign ends on 22 September 2012.

“It’s terrifying,” says director Eddie Edwards, who also helmed the award-winning sports documentary The Fight, about South African boxing champion Andile Tshongolo. “We’ve come so far already, but Kickstarter only funds films that reach their targets: otherwise no contributors are charged. It would be heartbreaking, both for us and for the Rolling Rockets team, to have accomplished so much and still to walk away with nothing and be unable to complete filming.”

The filmmakers have reasons to be hopeful though. Rollaball has received numerous endorsements, most recently from footballer Michael Essien, founder of the Michael Essien Foundation.

“Skate soccer is one of the most inspiring forms of the beautiful game I've seen and shows how the sport can be adapted and enjoyed by anyone,” says the Ghana Black Stars international who recently moved to Real Madrid on loan from Chelsea. “These athletes' determination, strength and creativity is inspiring and makes me proud to be Ghanaian. I hope the Rollaball documentary will give them the exposure they deserve and I look forward to seeing Ghana host an African Cup of Nations for skate soccer in the near future.''

Michael’s endorsement follows similar shows of support from the likes of AC Milan midfielder and Ghanaian Black Stars international Sulley Muntari; Disabled Peoples’ International; paralympian Anne Wafula Strike; The UN Special Rapporteur on Disability; World Cup Skateboarding; and South Africa’s Department of Women, Children and People With Disabilities.

"Michael’s endorsement is an inspiration for the entire team and makes us even more determined to host the first Skate Soccer Cup of Nations in Ghana next year," says Albert K. Frimpong, coach of The Rolling Rockets and executive director of SYDOGhana (Sports and Youth Development Organisation).

Featured Kickstarter projects have an 89% chance of success, according to a recent study, so it’s also encouraging that the Kickstarter community has embraced Rollaball: it was featured as a Kickstarter Staff Pick and on the curated Kickstarter pages of both Good Pitch and Okayafrica.  Rollaball also won the Puma.Creative Catalyst Award in partnership with BRITDOC.

To help make the completed documentary possible, visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rollaballmovie/rollaball-skate-soccer. Pledges start from as little as $10.  

 

 

 

 

Conversations

Must Read