TIFF 2011: “Leone Stars” wins TIFF’s Pitch This!

Allan Tong and Ngardy Conteh's documentary (pictured) beat five other films to take the competition's CDN$10,000 prize, marking the first time a doc has done so in the event's 12-year history.
September 13, 2011

Allan Tong and Ngardy Conteh’s Leone Stars (pictured), a documentary following the Sierra Leone Single-Leg Amputee Sports Club’s pursuit of a world championship, has won the Toronto International Film Festival’s Pitch This! Competition, and with it CDN$10,000 (US$10,100) in development funding.

The duo took the prize at the industry competition today (Tuesday), with Leone Stars topping five other films vying for the title. Each team was allowed six minutes to pitch their idea and two minutes to answer questions about it from the audience of more than 200, after which each film was evaluated by a six-person jury.

Leone Stars chronicles the Sports Club’s pursuit of a place in the 2012 World Amputee Football world championships. Tong was inspired to make the film after seeing photos of the team members, many of whom lost limbs in Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war.

“This is amazing,” Tong said in a statement. “Thanks to Telefilm and TIFF we now can go back to Africa to film the team as they compete at the All-African cup in Ghana.”

Work on the doc was partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, which helped the team raise more than CDN$20,000 for filming and production. The film was produced by Walter Forsyth (Gorgeous Mistake Productions) and executive produced by Jerry McIntosh.

The award marks the first time a doc has won Pitch This! in the event’s 12-year history. Leone Stars was up against Breaking the Band, The Lost Woods, Pinweight, The Multiple Selves of Hannah Maynard and The Marksman.

(From Playback Daily)

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.