Sunday, April 13, 2014

For All We Know: 160 WW2 veterans, 80 Taxis: A film about music, memories and comradeship.

A musical documentary following an extraordinary road trip with 160 WW2 veterans: a film about music, memories and comradeship.

We’re raising funds to start making FOR ALL WE KNOW (working title), a documentary like no other - part road movie, part musical. Together with BAFTA-nominated producer Sara Woodford, we're pulling together a small crew (two cameramen, an art director, a sound recordist), who are on standby to shoot the film during an extraordinary road trip in May 2014. It’s coming up very soon…that’s why we’re running this urgent fund-raising campaign! 

We’ll be following a huge gathering of World War II veterans -160 of them in all – mostly in their late 80’s and early 90’s – as they travel all the way to Holland and back in an astonishing convoy of 80 London Black Cabs. We’ll follow closely the journeys of some of the veterans who appear in the trailer and will be with them for the whole 5 day trip. In Holland, they will take part in a number of formal and informal events, standing once again alongside the Dutch people to mark National Liberation day. The veterans will pay their respects to their fallen comrades and accept the thanks of those they helped liberate. Throughout the journey, we’ll record some of their stories, songs and memories. We'll be fascinated to explore how the trip changes those who take part.

For all we know, this could be the last time these great British veterans are strong enough to make such a trip - it will be very special and meaningful. That’s why we really want to make this film NOW! So whether you have or had a relative who fought in World War II (who doesn’t?), whether you're a Cabbie, a music lover, or you just love a heart-warming story, please contribute what you can to the making of the film. In return, we’re offering some wonderful rewards. You can even dedicate the film to one of your relatives, or take part in the trip itself!

I’m inspired to tell this story far and wide… and I hope you will come on this journey with us!

Veterans singing at a recent Music Night at the Coach and Horses in Soho in London

As you’ve probably gathered by now, FOR ALL WE KNOW will not be just any documentary, but a musical documentary. I’ve noticed that music plays a large part in the lives of the veterans. Whenever they get together for a pint, or a trip in a cab, there’s usually a song! So threaded throughout the film will be the songs and music underpinning the veterans’ memories, good and bad. I’ve been studying these songs over the last few years, even holding informal ‘auditions’ (see trailer!) and singing sessions in Black Cabs. We’re really excited about filming on the last night of the trip, when the veterans will take part in a Music Night before they return back to London. No doubt they’ll belt out their favourites from wartime and from the post-war boom time. Danny McCrudden (89), Royal Navy veteran, could give Tony Bennett a run for his money, so we can’t wait to record him sing ‘The Good Life’. 

Veterans from World War II on a trip to Worthing with the taxi charity in 1964.

I’ve been getting to know some of the veterans (and the Cabbies) featured in the trailer for the last few years, while I’ve been working as a kind of artist-in-residence for a little known charity, The London Taxi Benevolent Association for the War Disabled. They’ve been taking veterans on trips in Black Cabs for years in the UK and beyond, quietly getting along with their work since 1948! Not enough of us know about them, so I want to make the film in part to spread the word. 

WW2 veterans have been more than willing to share their stories from wartime with me!

So far, getting to know the veterans has been a labour of love. But now we need funds to pull off a documentary feature. We’re raising funds for the first stage of production. If we raise more (which we secretly hope we will!), the additional funds will go towards paying for music rights, post-production, and the use of archive footage. 

We want to make a funny and tender, touching tribute to World War II veterans, as well as an affectionate portrait of London’s Black Cab drivers. In their own words and weaving together the songs that accompanied them through their best and worst of times, these men - and some women - will reflect on that time which was to shape their whole lives. 

will be a multi-layered, unsentimental tribute to World War II veterans, a film about music, memories and comradeship.

How Kickstart Works:
 * There is a set total which has to be reached by a certain date.

 * People are asked to make a pledge.
   (minimum pledge is just £1)

 * So far this project has been pledged £2,485 by 22 people.

 * There are just 16 days left to reach the total required of £18,850.

 * A complete range of rewards are offered, starting at £3 which will get you an official thank you sent to your twitter account. £25 gets you a DVD of the film, all the way up to £3,000 which will give you an executive producer credit. 

 * If the total is not achieved, then no one pays

Please contribute what you can.


Thank you.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Filming a hundred and sixty elderly people in their 80's and 90's on a journey to Holland in a convoy of Black Cabs...what could possibly go wrong?!

The main challenge we face is getting this all together in a very short period of time. But we are used to working to tight deadlines…and are already working on the film now, off our own backs, filming the preparations for the trip…and everyone we talk to wants to help us, so we are very confident in being able to pull it off.

One of the other challenges we will face concerns the music itself…and negotiating the precarious (and expensive!) world of copyright. Thankfully we have a wonderful music rights advisor, Diane Hayes from Face The Music, who has kindly and brilliantly negotiated the music rights for the trailer.

No comments: