1974, Scotland. Bob Fulton, a Rolls-Royce engine inspector, returns to his section, upset and anxious. He's just told his colleagues that a Chilean Air Force jet engine has arrived in the factory for maintenance and he's refusing to let it go through, in protest against the recent military coup of General Pinochet. He’s seen the images of people packed into football stadiums and the Chilean Air Force jets bombing Santiago, and now one of the engines from those very same planes is right there, waiting for inspection. He can see his supervisors approaching, he knows he’s about to be fired yet he feels a responsibility.
The Chilean coup, on the 11 September 1973, was a landmark of the Cold War. The first democratically-elected left-wing president in Latin America, Salvador Allende, was brutally overthrown by the Chilean Armed Forces, which surrounded and attacked the presidential palace where Allende and his staff refused to surrender.
Allende died that day and the dictatorship that followed claimed thousands of lives, with many still disappeared. Hundreds of thousands of Chileans were sent into exile.
The images of the Hawker Hunter air raid during the Chilean coup on the 11 September 1973, caught by documentary filmmakers, traveled the world. When the Scottish workers saw the images of tv, they recognised the planes and knew immediately they'd worked on the same engines. The Hawker Hunter was one of Britain’s most exported military aircrafts, with over 20 Air Forces flying them. All of them were powered by the same engine, the Rolls-Royce Avon.
By the 1970s, all Avon engines were repaired in the same factory… Rolls-Royce East Kilbride. With nowhere else to go for maintenance, the workers' action could potentially be devastating for the Chilean Air Force.
The boycott of Chilean engines at the Rolls-Royce factory was a minor cause célèbre. The workers kept the boycott going for four years, leaving the engines to rust at the back of the factory, until one night… the engines mysteriously disappeared. The workers were told their actions had been meaningless.
The filmmaker, Felipe Bustos Sierra, son of a Chilean exile, grew up hearing rumours of the now-mythic tale of international solidarity. These accounts bring him to Bob’s door 40 years later. Was any of it true?
NAE PASARAN is the painstakingly documented and emotional account of the impact of their action, and for the very first time, the feature film tells the story of the many Chileans who crossed paths with the engines.
In 2015, following revelations of our research, the Chilean ambassador bestowed the highest honour given to foreigners by the Government of Chile upon the Scottish workers. In an unlikely twist of fate, the film chronicles how the pensioners from East Kilbride became Commanders of the Republic of Chile.
Earlier this year, after discovering the lost engines in Chile, we were able to bring one back to Scotland, with the support of Unite Scotland and assistance of Glasgow Museums. Next year, the engine will be returned to East Kilbride to resume its struggle against the Scottish weather and stand as a monument to the Scottish action for international solidarity. However, the engine was the cherry-on-top, and only one of the film's revelations.
While the last paragraph may sound effortless-(!), it’s been a mountain of work and, with the film nearly finished, we need a final funding push to get it through its post-production on time and ensure it can be seen by the widest audience possible. The target here is to cover the costs of the post-production (sound mix, colour grade) and archival footage for international distribution.
If international solidarity means anything to you, if you believe - like we do - that we are all connected trying to make a life for ourselves while treating each other like human beings before politics, class, language or borders muddle it up, this is a story for you and it has a painstakingly-documented happy ending.
It's been a long project to research and our characters and their story have been an incredible buoy throughout; a true barometer to keep us going in the right direction. If you can’t help financially, tell others about the "Scots who stopped Pinochet's engines". Tell them what we're doing and please get them to this page.
NAE PASARAN has been a labour of love for many of us involved in its making, both on the Chilean or Scottish side. It's become the very first co-production between the UK and Chile and if this campaign is successful, you'll have a chance to see it within four months!
In 2013, we made this short film below. You can watch it here for free. It was produced by the Scottish Documentary Institute and went on to screen at festivals all over the world, winning awards and got the wheels spinning for the new film.
- A postcard signed by the workers
- The Film on DVD or streaming link. You could be one of the first to see NAE PASARAN from the comfort of your own home (those are limited to an exclusive few before we distribute the film internationally, so hurry!)
- Tickets to the film's premiere. (accommodation and travel not included)
- The Poster designed by Glasgow artist Fergus Dunnet. You can get your own signed copy (or both!) during the campaign.
- Your name in the credits. (Cinema and DVD version only).
- An actual Rolls-Royce Avon engine blade. We have five to give away during the campaign. We used many props, photos and documents during our filming to help Bob, Robert, Stuart and John reminisce and those blades brought instant memories. They are the real thing, not replicas.
- An Invitation to the after-party premiere in East Kilbride (accommodation and travel not included).
- Victor Jara music tracks. The Victor Jara Foundation has kindly offered selected tracks of Chilean singer/songwriter Victor Jara, who was killed in the immediate aftermath of the coup. His music has long been an influence and his music not easily available in the UK
- A poem about yourself, written and recorded by Stuart Barrie, “The Glasgow Poet”, one of the Rolls-Royce workers. Stuart used to write anonymous poems during his time at Rolls-Royce to highlight problems or pettiness he’d witnessed. He would also write a poem when someone retired. If you select this perk and send us a short bio about yourself along with a photo, Stuart will write a poem about you. Bear in mind, Stuart reads people like an open book, it may not be the most flattering thing you'll ever hear about yourself. Or it might just be. We’ll send you the signed poem and a filmed reading of it by yer man, Stuart.
THE CREATIVE TEAM
Felipe Bustos Sierra is a Belgian-Chilean director/producer based in Scotland. NAE PASARAN is his first feature documentary, after four award-winning fiction and documentary short films, which have screened at over 100 international film festivals, including Tribeca, DOK Leipzig, EIFF, Clermont-Ferrand and ZINEBI. He's an alumni of the Berlinale Talent Campus and the Edinburgh International Film Festival Talent Lab and a member of Eurodoc.
Peter Keith is a Scottish cinematographer and one of the most sought-after drone pilot in the UK, a frequent collaborator for nature and travel programs on the BBC and National Geographic. He recently completed all the aerial photography on T2: Trainspotting.
Colin Monie is a Scottish film editor with credits that span nearly 30 years. A long time collaborator with Peter Mullan, having cut his early short films as well as his features, Orphans, The Magdalene Sisters and NEDS, Colin Monie has also worked alongside the likes of Morag McKinnon (Donkeys), David Mackenzie (Hallam Foe, Young Adam) and Deepa Mehta (Midnight's Children, Heaven on Earth).
Jack Coghill is a sound designer from Glasgow with credits including multiple award winning films & documentaries, high end commercials, museum installations & immersive 360 spatial audio projects. He LOVED his time in Chile.
The project has benefited so far from an initial crowdfunding campaign in 2015, development support from Creative Scotland and production funding from BBC Scotland and a grant through a co-production with La Ventana Cine in Chile from the Consejo Nacional de la Cultura y los Artes - Fondo Audiovisual 2017. The new crowdfunding campaign will complete the full budget of the film.
Risks and challenges
The film is nearly done, but could be long or indefinitely delayed if we do not secure the funds.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)