This is not a documentary, it’s a live-action espionage short film made in the spirit of films like 'The Conversation','Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy', and 'Day of the Jackal'.
1967, the Cold War.
In the days preceding the mysterious disappearance of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt, paranoia has engulfed the conservative government.
Astonishingly, this is all based on new evidence.
A year ago I received an anonymous package containing a can of 35MM film marked in Russian cyrillic writing.
Intrigued, I telecined the film and I discovered footage showing a very alive Harold Holt in Russia, months after he was presumed dead.
No matter where I searched, the identity of the deliverer of this reel eluded me—I came to simply call him ‘The Defector’.
When that lead went cold, I realised this wasn't a mystery I could tackle alone, and there was a great story here, so...
Inspired by this new evidence, we're crafting a compelling espionage short film about what we think could have happened to Harold Holt.
Intrigued? Watch the trailer.
Click each graphic for IMDB and website information:
For full crew list and trailer credits, click here.
Check out some of our rewards (Pledge tier breakdowns below):
Using evidence gathered thus far, we’re also creating...
(Art by James Brouwer, written By Scott Mannion). Who is the ‘The Defector’? What is his role in world espionage history? How did he acquire the film reel?
Experience the next chapter of this mystery through a stand alone espionage graphic novel. Check the pledge tiers below to see if you are eligible.
Click on the pledge tiers to pre-order:
This page, and the trailer, may look polished, but we’re not some large production company.
All of this work has been done on love from ourselves and our collaborators, and I spent every cent I had on the trailer. We can go no further without your help. Join us.
How will your contribution be spent?
Our budget will go directly toward what you see on the screen.
- PRODUCTION: Equipment costs and location arrangements. Plus all the costs accredited to art department, design, sound, camera, catering, production and lighting. These costs are large, especially for a period film.
- POST PRODUCTION: Editing, Sound Design / Mixing, Title Design and (minimal) VFX. Video Grade. Distribution.
- PERKS: We appreciate your support and don't want to leave you empty-handed. We've created some fun incentives for our investors that will only be available through this campaign.
What happens if we exceed our $65,000 goal?
Our goal is to raise a minimum of $65,000 for this project.
- 1. If we exceed our goal, we'll use that finance to release an extended version of the HOLT short.
- 2. The content and intrigue of the augmented reality soviet gold hunt (see below for information about this) will broaden.
- 3. If we exceed our goal further, funds will allow us to start developing a ‘Holt’ feature film.
But first things first—Let's meet our initial goal.
Can we do it?
In 2011, I directed the award winning short film ‘Anima’ which was also crowd-funded using Kickstarter.
Although completely different in tone and style, it shows what is possible with a small budget. .
We want to connect with our audience by bringing the journey directly to you. I can’t solve the mystery alone.
Help grow this project and enjoy the puzzle along the way.
Kickstarter is a funding platform dedicated to making creative projects possible with direct support. When you back our project, you’re saying that you want this story out there.
Here’s how it works:
- We set a funding goal. Our supporters make pledges.
- If we reach our goal, your pledge will be processed by Kickstarter and we can start filming.
- If we don’t reach our goal, our supporters will NOT be charged for their pledge—It’s all or nothing. For example our target is $65,000. If we reach $55,000, we get nothing.
We must reach the target.
So whether your contribution is small or large, it doesn't matter. Every individual supporter matters. Every shared link matters.
Kickstarter has some great "share" options right under the video.
Join us, find the truth.
Your fellow conspirators:
Scott Mannion & the 'Holt' team.
- 1. Make a pledge of any size. Be a part of rewriting Holt's history (you can change your donation amount any time before the campaign ends).
- 2. If you like what you see, tell us about you. Contact us. We want to get to know our audience.
- 3. Click here and you can lend your support in a really easy way on social media by joining our 'Thunderclap' social media campaigns. This will do all the work for you in sharing the project.
- 4. After you support us, Kickstarter will give you the option to send a message out to your friends/followers on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The message will read of your donation and will include a link to our project page (please send these messages. It only takes a second and will help us reach a critical mass).
- 5. Find one other person to make a donation, even if it's just $5 dollars.
I sincerely appreciate it.
To compliment the short film, we're creating an augmented reality cryptic espionage puzzle with an app called Aurasma.
Somewhere in Sydney we’re hiding a soviet gold coin (worth 1000 AUD), and a cache of all the evidence we've gathered.
Solve this puzzle first and the soviet gold is yours.
The first step starts only weeks after we launch. Stay vigilant, we could drop clues anywhere.
This experience is offered to all supporters of this live action film project, and will include content for international users.
We will be providing live updates during production with supporters gaining exclusive access to:
- Production Artwork
- Production and soviet hunt blogs
- Interviews with Production staff
Aurasma is an app that interacts with reality by scanning images and adding our virtual experience to reality through your smart phone’s camera.
How will this be used? Check out this demo of Aurasma's power:
A full video showing a demo of Aurasma in action with our soviet hunt will launch in one week's time.
- Once you pledge, click here to download the app in preparation for the start of the hunt (All you need is a smart phone or an iPad).
- You will use Aurasma to follow a series of clues and steps in a giant live labyrinthine puzzle.
- You will be able to interact with some of the rewards we are releasing when the project is finished.
- It’s not just Australia alone, it’s international—you’ll be able to interact online, and in person, with the content we are creating.
Risks and challenges
Creating a multi-platform story is a unique challenge. We are dedicated to bringing a new experience to the audience. We want to collaborate with you, and give you the content you want.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)