There are only 11 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 $13 000 from 102 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 $22 000 in 11 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.
"The good news is that when projects fail on Kickstarter, they normally fail badly," says associate producer Shelley Barry, a film director and disability rights activist. "Rollaball's Kickstarter campaign is currently 37% funded. Of the films that reach 30%, only 10% fail to reach their targets, and if we can get to 50% funded our odds increase to 97%, so we're hopeful that the flood of goodwill we've received will convert over the next 11 days into the money we require to finish shooting and give this remarkable team of athletes the exposure they deserve. But we need everyone's help: we can't do this without you."
To help make the completed documentary possible, visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rollaballmovie/rollaball-skate-soccer. Pledges start from as little as $10.
For more info, visit www.rollaballmovie.com.
"The documentary Rollaball is an important project to promote a deeper understanding of people living with disabilities. It will create crucial awareness of the skate soccer team who are playing sport against all odds. We salute the team and the filmmakers and support them in their endeavours to make the film."
Javed Abidi, World Chair, Disabled Peoples' International
"Sport is such an important part of life for everyone, keeping them healthy and bringing people together no matter what age, sex, ability or disability. Rollaball, about an inspiring team of Ghanaian polio survivors who are pioneering an extreme sport combination of skating and soccer, is a really inspirational story showing how courage and determination prevail. I always wanted to be a footballer and never let anything stand in my way, so I have the greatest admiration and respect for these guys playing sport with more barriers to success than most.
This film also plays a vital role in highlighting the massive challenges that people suffering from polio face, especially in Ghana where it is still stigmatized and many have to resort to begging and living on the streets to survive. I wish the best of luck to everyone behind the film, particularly the inspiring individuals who have shared their story with the world."
Sulley Muntari, AC Milan midfielder & Ghanaian Black Stars international
" An inspirational documentary on the spirit of humanity, which shows what can be achieved. Sport for people with disabilities provides the public with the awareness of the abilities of people and removes the barriers that causes prejudice and segregation."
Shuaib Chalklen, UN Special Rapporteur on Disability
"Rollaball is an inspirational film that shows that no matter how hard life may be, sport can be liberating. It's heartbreaking to see what these men have to do to survive on a daily basis - dodging in between busy traffic to beg for money to hold body and soul together. But when Sunday comes all is forgotten in the thrill of playing skate soccer, a game that makes them feel totally alive. Their ingenuity in adapting equipment makes for a fast and furious game on the streets. It's exciting to watch and it really deserves a far wider audience. And who knows, it could one day be a sport to inspire persons with disability all over the world, and take its place alongside wheel rugby and basketball. For it's not where these men live but how they live that will cause us to put life into perspective."
Anne Wafula Strike, Paralympic wheelchair racer, author and polio survivor
"Thank you for sharing the inspiring trailer for the movie Rollaball. The production team has managed to truly capture the spirit of hope sport brings in the lives of persons with disabilities, irrespective of how desperate their personal circumstances are. The movie succeeds in transmitting the energy evoked in the participants when they get onto the skate soccer field to the movie audience, who cannot be but moved to smile and move along with the razor sharp movements of the players. A truly African solution for African conditions, displaying the African spirit through motion. A movie that has to be made to inspire persons with disabilities and their families in Africa and beyond. We wish you all of the very best in your endeavours and will be behind you all of the way!"
Lidia Pretorius, Chief Director: Rights of Persons With Disabilities, Department: Women, Children and People With Disabilities, South Africa