saviour film document
Post on 09-Mar-2016
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DESCRIPTIONAll about the new documentary production from VeryMuchSo - They Call Me Saviour
saviourThey Call MeThey Call Mesaviour
A story of hope, faith, friendship and football. Follow Saviours incredible journey from the slums of Freetown, Sierra Leone to the edge of the Arctic Circle as he shoots for the greatest goal of his life.
a VeryMuchSo production
The film opens with our 17-year old hero Saviour Kamara running through the polluted haze of a busy highway in Freetown, Sierra Leone, past the mosques, the overloaded vans, the honking taxis
Its 2009 and Saviour is just starting out on his football career. He recently signed for a top local team but hell only be on 40 a month. Life for a footballer in Sierra Leone is hard, explains his coach they dont have money for food and transport, they dont have time for rest.
Meanwhile, four and a half thousand miles away, in Freetowns twin city of Hull, a northern English port with more past than future, the local football team Hull City are struggling for goals.
Could Saviour be the answer? Two Hull City fans offer to fly Saviour over for a trial, at no cost to their club.
The Kamaras know hardship. They live in an area of town known as Low Cost. Dad Hassan, a driver, is unemployed, Mum Zainab sells soft drinks outside the house.
Memories of the horrific civil war are never far away, when the rebels overran the neighbourhood; killing, burning, looting and amputating. Peace finally came and Saviour and his best friend Decox were allowed out again, but there were no footballs in Freetown - they played their first games with the human skulls that littered the city.
they played their first games with the skulls that littered the city
We meet Saviours team, his friends, family and neighbours. We see a struggling but vibrant city whose people know the value of life and celebrate it loudly every day and everyone tells us the same thing: Saviour can be a heroSaviour can lift us from povertySaviour can be the answer to Hull Citys problems.
I have a dream, Saviour tells us, standing on the centre spot in Sierra Leones empty National Stadium. One day I will play for a big club in Europe and represent my country at the highest level.
But will Hull City listen?We send emails to the club, we make phone calls, we offer to take the chairman Adam Pearson for dinner, we even offer to buy him flowers but he doesnt want to know.Not until we call a journalist friend who works for the Yorkshire Post and who splashes the story on the front page of the paper.
Sensing a PR defeat Mr Pearson reluctantly relents.Filmed simultaneously in Hull and Freetown, we see the joy on Saviours face and the faces of his family as we give him the news that weve got him a trial. But there are hurdles to overcome, particularly the complicated FA regulations in regard to work permits for non-EU playersAnd then theres getting Saviour a UK visa With the chance of a trial and with God on his side, Saviour visits the British High Commission in Freetown to get the results of his applicationLetter in hand, his anticipation so great he can barely stand to look inside - and were there with him, we can feel it too.Hes denied.
They say the downfall of a man is not the ending of his life says Saviour, You have to fight at all costs to reach the top. When you wake, if your dream does not come true, sleep and you will dream again.
Enter Patrick Mork.The Swedish soccer agent knows that there is more than one kind of diamond in Sierra Leone. His Sierra Leonean colleague Chernor Musa Jalloh tells us: Patrick takes the stones from Africa, polishes them In Europe and turns them into gems.So we Skype him. Maybe Patrick can offer some hopeIf he can go to a place like Boden, says Patrick have a good mentality and do well, he can succeed anywhere.Boden is a small place, an ex-military town in northern Sweden right on the edge of the Arctic Circle, at one time on the very frontline of the Cold War, but now its just a rainy, sleepy town in the woods. Even the locals say its boring. Saviour misses his family. He lives in a small flat at the top of a faceless apartment block and he trains, runs and trains: The life is bad but I have to do this. I have to do this for my friends, I have to do this for my family.
But then he scores. And then he scores again. And then the next week he scores again. The scouts from other clubs begin to sniff around.Boden are facing a critical battle for survival. Theyve just brought in a new manager, a Turkish Swede called Melke Allan. If Saviour can score not only will he keep them up, hell almost certainly guarantee himself a permanent contract with a top team.
For once the rain has stopped in Boden. In the changing room we see the tension first hand as the manager and team count down the minutes to the game.Saviour runs out onto the pitch and raises his hands in prayer.At half-time Boden are two-nil down.In the dressing room Melke is distraught. Go forward! Play it wide! Put the shit in the net! I want to see the fire in your eyes!Its the second half and Saviour is the lone striker. He runs and runs, he shoots and misses. He remembers the voices from back home You have to dominate the hunger. Struggle, struggle for we!The team lose 3-0.Close to tears he tells us I tried my best but I cannot do it alone.And then comes the call from Patrick: I have some news for you You will have a big career in Sweden! You will sign for AIK!It feels as if the whole of Sierra Leone celebrates. This news can change the Kamaras lives they joyfully tell us how they have given thanks to God for this blessing. Even the black market money traders on the streets of downtown Freetown cant hold back their happiness that one of their brothers will make it in Europe.
Six months later, snowy and sub-zero Stockholm, March 2012, days before the start of the Swedish football season.Saviour is preparing for his first game with AIK. Hes got a small flat in Solna, a beautiful and intelligent Swedish girlfriend and a sporty little Nissan Micra.But chief scout Bjorn tells us that Saviour has had a hard time adapting. Getting his hair shaved into a blonde Mohican and courting the attention of the Swedish media didnt help: This is Sweden, you have to be humble. A Mohican when you havent even scored a goal No. Score some goals, then get the Mohican Sure. But he will do fine, he just needs time.
First game of the season, 25,000 fans, Saviours first time in a suit, on the team bus, thronged by crowds waving flares, fireworks, chanting. Kamara - lets see
whether he will deliver. The fans tell us: Of course he will be great hes playing for the greatest club in Sweden!And then hes on the bench. A sub. Its the same throughout the season. Five minutes here, ten minutes there
When we return to Stockholm in July, Saviour is finding life frustrating. And his girlfriend is finding life with Saviour equally hard. Maybe the dream is not all its cracked up to be?Hes had no trouble adopting the cosy routines of European life, training, TV, supermarket, Playstation - but theres a sense of dissatisfaction.He needs to be easy on himself. says his AIK team mentor Charlee Mian.He wants it all now but he must learn to be patient. says manager Andreas Alm.Hes living a life his friends and old team-mates back
home would envy, but he misses Sierra Leone. Hes just a 19 year old boy a kid who dreamed of playing football in Europe but who
is now struggling to make the team.
September 8, 2012. Freetown, Sierra Leone - as loud and chaotic as ever.The national team have drawn Tunisia in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. The stakes are huge its the first time in more than 25 years that theyve had a chance to make it to a big competition.Forty thousand madly patriotic Sierra Leonean fans fill the National Stadium in a maelstrom of colour and noise. Saviour has been selected as a striker for the national team. In front of a crowd of screaming fans, with his friends and relatives in the stands, Saviour is representing his country at the highest level.Can tiny Sierra Leone hope to compete against one of Africas football giants? Could the boy from Low Cost be the Saviour of his nations hopes? Will he even make it to the starting 11?
The gripping twists and turns of Saviours astonish-ing story continue until the final frame the climax of the film will amaze and inspire. They Call Me Saviour shows that wherever you are in the world, hard work, talent, faith and friendship can make dreams come true.
I tried my best but I cannot do this alone.
A British Colony until 1961, Sierra Leone struggled to prosper under independent rule. Tribal divisions - mainly focussing on the Temne, Mende and Krio tribes - fused with widespread corruption and cronyism, an historic lack of investment in infrastructure by the British, and tensions in neighbouring Liberia, led to an horrific civil war which lasted throughout the 1990s until 2001.
The ensuing years have been peaceful, but Sierra Leone has struggled to develop. Still ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world, unemployment
is high. Most people live on less than a dollar a day, healthcare is poor, literacy levels low, and the maternal mortality rate is the highest in the world.
In spite of the catalogue of woes, after nearly ten trips to the country since 2006, we have come to see that Sierra Leone is an emerging and hope-filled nation with huge potential.
The country is abundant in natural assets, not only the troublesome gold and diamonds, but a wealth of other minerals, recently discovered oil, fertile agricultural land and abundant fishing potential.
More than that, Sierra Leone is a country whose people share a rich culture and an amazing love of life. Perhaps because of the hardship they have experienced, Sierra Leoneans know how to celebrate and they live life with a passion. Freetown may be poor and over-populated, but its an amazingly colourful and vibrant city a place that makes you feel alive.
This is the Freetown of They Call Me Saviour.
In Sierra Leone, football is like a religion. All across Freetown unemployed youths train hard for their neighbourhood teams. Football brings structure and discipline to their lives, it offers them the hope that one day life will get better, one day maybe they can follow the example of national hero Mohamed Kallon, just like him sign for Inter Milan, buy a big house in the hills when you live on less than a dollar a day, hopes and dreams are what keep you alive.
On every corner there are Ataya Bases open-air tea (ataya) shops where men gather to smoke and drink and argue loudly about whether Wenger is better than Fergusson or Van Persie better than Torres. And on every street youll find the local cinema a bar or caf with a couple of old TVs where locals without electricity in their tiny tin-built pan bodi homes watch a constant diet of Spanish, Italian and English top league soccer.
Theres no escaping football in Sierra Leone. Football brings us together. says Abdul Rahman Swaray, chair of the Sierra Leone FA, It heals us and makes us forget the hurts.The game in Sierra Leone however, is drastically underfunded. Most players are unpaid and their status in society is low, they are regarded by many as timewasters who would do better to find real employment.
In spite of this, there is no playable space is Sierra Leone on which a ball is not kicked. On Sundays, the three mile stretch of beach in the west of the city is completely taken up with overlapping games between local teams.
The premier league itself struggles to get through each season due to lack of sponsorship and poor attendances. Poor people would rather pay a few pence to watch the English premier league in their
local cinema rather than travel across town to watch a live game at the stadium. Games are sometimes cancelled when the premier league cannot afford to switch on the stadium lights.
The tide is turning though. When we started filming Sierra Leone was ranked by Fifa as a very lowly 127th in the world. They are now 56th in the world and tenth best in Africa.
A number of high profile international transfers, not the least of which is Saviour signing to AIK, have proved that football might be a career worth pursuing.
And Sierra Leones leap up the rankings has already attracted greater attention from the international scouts who were once so scared to visit.
In Sierra Leone, Sweden and the UK we are pleased to have secured access to football contacts at every level from Mohamed Kallon (Saviours mentor) and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Sport to the coaches, managers and players at the top of Sierra Leone impoverished premier league. In Sweden agents and the management of the countrys top team, Saviours club AIK have co-operated fully with the film. In the UK Hull city remained resolutely and stubbornly unhelpful but the English FA welcomed us to Wembley and gave us everything we need.
the GameThe Gameaboutabout
Best friend Decox, also a
Niece Haja, mum works in the States to support the family
Coaches Moses, Charlie and Amidu
Mammy Zainab Kamara and
Pa Hassan Kamara
Karim Kallon, Saviours manager in Sierra Leone
Melke Alan - I want to see the fire in your eyesAndreas Alm, manager of AIK in Stockholm
Pernila, Saviours Swedish girlfriend
Ask anyone about Sierra Leone and the first things that come to mind are:Child soldiersBlood DiamondsAmputationPovertyand probably Leonardo DiCaprio
Its a clichd view which we hope to play some role in over-turning.
In They Call Me Saviour we see a city that is full of life, passion and laughter. Saviours Freetown is a place where people have hopes and dreams, they might be experiencing hardship but their ambition raises them.
Poverty might drive Sierra Leoneans, but it is their dreams which define them.Saviour shows that wherever in the world you are, if you have a dream, and if you have faith then you can change your life.
They Call Me Saviour tells an unlikely-but-true fairytale story of the rise of a boy from the slums of West Africa, making his way in the universally understood world of football. We are there right from the start and we help make it happen.
Saviour is a great character: physically striking, animated, dedicated and ambitious. Hes good-looking and he knows it: charismatic, funny and articulate a kind-of young African Eric
Cantona fantastic turn of phrase, a proverb for every occasion.Hes an everyman too. Hes every kid who ever dreamed he could score a goal.
Saviours story follows the classic rags-to-riches arc, with all of the set-backs and triumphs in all the right places. We see share his joy and we feel his disappointment. Theres laughter and tears and in the end, yes, he makes it.
But theres a twist...
Many Sierra Leoneans believe Europe is a promised land, a place where life is beautiful, the people are beautiful and everyone has all they need.In They Call Me Saviour, the closeness of our heros family and the sheer tropical wallop of life and culture in Freetown contrasts with the dourness and sterility of life in Hull, Stockholm and the sleepy, rainy little town of Boden in northern Sweden. We might have material wealth, but do we have the cultural and spiritual wealth that makes Sierra Leone so special?We see through Saviours story that even though the life of a professional footballer in Europe the girlfriend, car, money and clothes may look good on the surface, without family, friends and culture that appearance can be deceptive.
With jeopardy and emotion throughout, the film culminates in an incredible and moving climax in Freetowns National Stadium.
VeryMuchSo Productions was established by film maker Daniel Gordon to specialise in exceptional human stories from inaccessible locations. A North Korean trilogy of
eye-opening feature-length documentaries was produced when DPRK allowed Daniel unparalleled access, giving him the distinction of being the only Western director granted permission to film there.
VeryMuchSo then headed to East Africa to make The John Akii Bua Story - An African Tragedy, which tells the tale of Ugandas legendary 400m hurdler and gold medal winner from the Munich Olympics, who returned home to a land ruled by Idi Amin, where bloodshed, carnage and tribal violence were rife and where no-one was safe.
VeryMuchSos latest film, 9.79* tells the story of the eight athletes who ran in the infamous 100m mens final at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, when Ben Johnson tested positive for anabolic steroids and scandal reigned. For the first time ever, all eight athletes have told their story.
VeryMuchSo is very excited about They Call Me Saviour. Its a story that has everything dreams, hope, conflict and redemption and we believe it will make a powerful and compelling documentary.
Matt Stephenson (on the left)After establishing Hulls first comedy club and Hulls first listings magazine Matt worked for 8 years as a feature writer and columnist for the Hull Daily Mail. As a freelance journalist he wrote for the Big Issue and The Guardian before teaming up with Alan Jones to work full time on video and publishing projects. Matt looks after the journalistic elements of the film and directs in collaboration with Alan. If someone needs to go in front of the camera then its Matt who does that.
Alan Jones(on the right)Alan used his success with indie band Space-maid to establish his own recording and video editing studios. His work in film developed initially as an interest but soon became the mainstay of his professional practice.Al handles the camera and sound and does the technical stuff.
Lansana Mansaray (aka Barmmy Boy - foreground)Barmmy is a music and video producer based in Freetown Sierra Leone. Barmmy is recognised as one of the leaders of Sierra Leones emerging media sector. He is also director of WeOwnTV a young peoples media development organisation in Freetown funded by Banker White, producer of the Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars documentary.Barmmy is our fixer and runs our second unit in Sierra Leone.
And thats Uncle Karim at the back.
about usabout us
Contact usDaniel Gordon, VeryMuchSo +44 (0) 7775 693 [email protected]
Helen Spedding, VeryMuchSo +44 (0) 7941 536 [email protected]