***UPDATE 22/12/15 We made it! Thank you to everyone for your support and backing. A wonderful campaign and glad to have shared it with you. Any additional pledges still welcomed and additional funds raised as a result will still be of benefit to the film. Our thanks again.
Warm greetings and welcome to London Recruits - the sensational story of the young men and women who undertook clandestine missions for the ANC during the bleakest years of the apartheid regime. With your help, their gripping tale that remained secret for over 40 years, will come to the big screen for the first time.
At a time when ANC membership was banned, its activists executed or imprisoned, exiled leader Oliver Tambo lit the fuse on a plan that saw young women and men travel to South Africa disguised as honeymooning couples, tourists and business trippers. Recruited by Ronnie Kasrils, working undercover in London, the volunteers exploited the ‘whites only’ policies of apartheid South Africa. Under the noses of the police they unfurled banners from landmarks, exploded home-made leaflet bombs at packed train stations and played rousing speeches to crowds from improvised sound systems, signalling to thousands of Africans living under the regime that the struggle for freedom was very much alive.
The huge personal risk involved in these missions was brought all too sharply into focus for those few who were caught, tortured and imprisoned. Many recruits remained anonymous long after apartheid had ended, reflective of the danger and secrecy of their missions against one of the 20th century's most brutal regimes. Now, nearly 50 years on, the legacy of their work can finally be celebrated on film. With unique access to the brave women and men who risked their lives in solidarity with the liberation struggle, London Recruits will tell their story.
This is documentary as high drama. London Recruits is a thriller in every sense of the word. British and South African intelligence are hot on their heels, the recruits have little or no back up on the ground and for many this is their first trip abroad. There’s humour in their near misses, but the dangers are all too real. Those who are caught face torture and solitary confinement. The wider struggle often appears hopeless and the missions are absolutely secret, even from loved ones.
The film is a roller coaster adventure that offers a timely challenge to us today: in a world still full of racism and injustice, have any of us got what it takes to be London Recruits? We will mix archive footage, interviews and dramatisation to tell this dramatic thriller about those who risked their lives for what is right.
We have recorded initial interviews with many of the London Recruits, alongside work conducted on the ground in South Africa. We've tracked down journalists, police officers and security officials who were involved in the events as they unfolded. We've met with eye witnesses who remember the leaflet bombs, the banners and the sense of euphoria when spirits were lifted by successful missions.
We are preparing the final shooting script for the drama reconstruction elements. We will shoot the bulk of that reconstruction in the summer of 2016, with a premiere in mind for the autumn.
We've assembled an amazing team for London Recruits, a crew that can deliver a great result for this important story. Heading up the project are Barefoot Rascals, a production company led by Gordon Main and Peter Edwards. They put compelling stories and great characters into the heart of everything they do. We have the overwhelming support from many of the London Recruits whose participation and contribution to the film is paramount. Moreover, Ronnie Kasrils has lent the production his full backing and is a vital player as we uncover the secrets and mysteries of this fascinating time in the South African struggle.
We have raised seed development funding from Ffilm Cymru Wales and received support from trade unions in the UK. Those unions were at the forefront of the international struggle against apartheid with their members playing a crucial role in solidarity work. We have carried out initial research and interviews but rely upon an injection of fresh funding to bring us into production. We appreciate the story will have wide appeal to a generation who participated in the anti apartheid movement alongside a new generation that draws inspiration from it. We've carefully chosen rewards we think you will like and in the spirit of the story.
By backing the campaign you'll play an integral role to realise the project and become part of the London Recruits community of friends and supporters. Every penny will help get this project made. The producers are committed to paying cast and crew fairly and we face the costs that come with shooting abroad; transportation, rentals and so on. Funding independent films is tougher than ever and eternal thanks and gratitude go to those who'll help us fulfil this part of our budget.
We hope our friends and supporters will enjoy sharing this incredible journey with us and play a part in getting such a vitally important story to the big screen.
Risks and challenges
Making films is a privilege as well as our passion. For you to share this new journey involves a trust in us and a belief in our work and for that we are truly grateful. We have drawn enormous inspiration from the story of the London Recruits. Their courage and sacrifice guides us as we attempt to do justice to their story in this film.
We have set in momentum a project which we are absolutely committed to completing to the highest standard. No compromise in our dedication to the London Recruits, a project we are truly honoured to depict on film.
We have already collated a significant amount of material; fascinating interviews with those who were engaged in the events along with archival sources uncovered for the first time. With the remainder of the budget fulfilled we can progress to the final stages of the shoot. We are fortunate to have such a wide net of support and passion for the project, and the most talented and dedicated production team in place to ensure we can deal with problems that might arise on our journey. Thanks so much for taking the time to read our pitch, we look forward to welcoming you to the London Recruits community.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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