South Sudan Wheelchair Basketball Film: The Dream Outlives A War

By Richard Nield

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What we're doing

For the past six years we've been filming the inspirational journey of the players of South Sudan's wheelchair basketball team.

This group of courageous young people have overcome war, disability and displacement to fulfil their dream of forming a national wheelchair basketball team in the newest country in the world.

Lions & Tigers - the South Sudan wheelchair basketball team formed in a refugee camp in Kenya is about to start training for its first international

Since we first met these inspiring characters in 2012, a year after the country was created, we've filmed in South Sudan three times.

When conflict forced some of the players to flee the country in 2015 we travelled to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia to continue to film their dramatic journey.

Filming in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya where some of the players were exiled by war in South Sudan

This November, internationally-renowned wheelchair basket coach Jess Markt will travel from the US to South Sudan to train the team.

Jess, who broke his spine in a car accident when he was 19, has trained wheelchair basketball teams all over the world. His teaching is a tremendous opportunity for South Sudan's players and a major step towards them fulfilling their next dream: to compete in their first international.

International wheelchair basketball coach Jess Markt will train South Sudan's wheelchair basketball team in November 2018

We are desperate not to miss this opportunity to capture such a crucial chapter in the team's story and we are determined to give them the global audience that their heroic achievements deserve.

How you can help

So far, production has been almost entirely self-funded, but unfortunately we've reached the end of our resources.

Without your help we won't be able to capture this crucial next stage in the team's journey.

But with your help, we can travel to South Sudan at the end of October and film the team as they train towards their first international.

We are single-minded in our determination to bring the story of these heroic characters to television and cinema screens all over the world. Your help is vital to us achieving this.

Producer & director Richard Nield with team champion Gabriel and his friends in Kakuma refugee camp, October 2015

Filming in South Sudan

Filming in South Sudan can be tough. Getting accreditation is a long process, the heat is searing, and the fact that there aren't many roads in South Sudan and there are occasional outbreaks of conflict means that basic accommodation is expensive.

After numerous trips to the country, we know what we're doing. We're trained in working in hostile environments, and between us we've successfully overcome three bouts of malaria and an outbreak of fighting without a drop in our productivity!

Here's how your funds will help:


It's hard to overstate the impact of this film. It will help support the team in reaching their goals, it will bring them the attention their incredible achievements deserve and it will raise awareness of many important issues:

Some more about the story

The founder of South Sudan's wheelchair basketball team, Gatluak, was just 11 years old when he lost his father and his brother in a civil war. Despite his young age, he took up arms himself to help protect his home and family.

Gatluak sustained gunshot injuries to his arms and legs in the fighting. He was airlifted to Kenya to a hospital run by the international Red Cross. The injuries to one of his legs were so bad that it had to be amputated.

Fighting in his home country meant that Gatluak couldn't go back home. His new home was a refugee camp in Kenya, called Kakuma.

It was here that Gatluak met others who like him had lost limbs in the fighting and were forced to flee the country. And it was here that the Red Cross introduced them to wheelchair basketball.

Having suffered so much trauma, wheelchair basketball helped the players start to see a future for themselves, and to begin to build a new life.

Gatluak had a dream that if ever South Sudan became an independent country, he and his new teammates would start a national wheelchair basketball team.

Team captain Gatluak, whose dream to form a wheelchair basketball team in South Sudan was the start of an incredible journey

In July 2011, South Sudan separated from Sudan to became the world’s newest nation. Two weeks later, the country’s wheelchair basketball team was formed. Gatluak had realised his dream.

A year later, on the anniversary of independence, we spent a month meeting Gatluak and the other players, and capturing their incredible story on film.

We've been gripped by the story ever since. Please help us bring it to the world.

Who's involved

Producer & director: Richard Nield

Cinematography: Alex Pritz, Colin Cosier, James Stittle

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Team Members

Richard Nield

Alex Pritz

Colin Cosier

George Elerick

James Stittle

Luke Forsythe

Oscar Park

Paul Wheeler