RSL & Services Clubs Association

Kokoda ... the spirit lives

KOKODA … the spirit lives the documentary

Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the campaign that saved our freedom

WORLD PREMIERE IN SELECTED CLUBS 29TH AUGUST 2017

Please CLICK HERE to view the clubs across NSW, VIC and QLD who are showing the documentary

The RSL & Services Clubs Association are still seeking support from member clubs by screening the documentary on the 75th anniversary of the turning-point Battle for Isurava, on 29th August 2017. It's not too late to join over 55 RSL Clubs across NSW, VIC and QLD who have already signed up to show the documentary.

We are also inviting clubs to use this occasion to raise money from ticket sales ($10 per person) for the Australian-based charity, the Kokoda Track Foundation, which works to improve the lives of the descendants of the beloved Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, the Papuan nationals who played a vital part in the Kokoda campaign.

The RSL&SCA are asking member clubs who screen the film to invite any surviving Kokoda Diggers and/or their families and past Kokoda Youth Leadership Challenge Trekkers in their area to the screening.

For member clubs who sign up to screen the film will be sent a marketing kit, which will have a press release, posters, flyers, TV and social media graphic files to help promote this moving documentary.

If you cannot show the film on Tuesday 29th August because of other bookings, you can still show this film for up to a week after this date if that works better for you. So, you could run an afternoon matinee screening on Wednesday or Thursday or even Saturday of that week, or a night time screening on any date after the 29th for up to a week.

Please download the expressions of interest form CLICK HERE and return by fax on 02 9222 1054 or email to marketing@rslservicesclubs.com.au and we will be in touch with you soon!

Exploring the spirit of Kokoda … then and now

What is that spirit? Why does it still burn so brightly today, inspiring Australians of all ages?

“It boiled down to three things: interdependence, one upon the other; the ability to fight on when there’s scarcely a breath left in your body; and respect – respect for each other.”- Lt Col Phil Rhoden, CO 2/14th Battalion, Kokoda

BACKGROUND

75 years ago, for the first time in Australia’s European history, our liberty was under threat. A rampant Japanese Army had swarmed over the Pacific and landed in Papua New Guinea, then Australian territory.

The invaders were at our doorstep and the only troops standing between them and the Australian mainland were a group of young, poorly-trained, under-equipped Militia units, who had never fired a shot in anger.

The crucial battles to defend Australia were fought from July 1942 to January 1943, along a jungle path over PNG’s precipitous Owen Stanley Range, the infamous Kokoda Track.

The young Militia Diggers held on against odds of five or six to one just long enough for our seasoned AIF Diggers to be rushed back from the Middle East and to eventually turn back and defeat the Japanese.

The spirit exhibited by the Diggers and their PNG comrades (the beloved Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels) has since inspired generations of Australians. As Gallipoli symbolized the Anzac spirit of WWI, Kokoda is its WWII equivalent.

Today, walking the Kokoda Track has become a rite of passage to many young Australians. Others, drawn by the chance to literally walk in the footsteps of the Diggers, explore the terrain, the PNG people but, most of all, themselves.

Ahree quarters of a century after the battles that preserved our freedom, the Diggers of Kokoda are well into their 90s and fading. Soon, there will be no living link with this iconic chapter of our history.

How will we remember them? How will we ensure their sacrifices are understood and appreciated by their descendants and by those who live in the freedom they bequeathed us?

The KTF believes we should commit to a suite of commemorative activities that will honour the remarkable achievements of the Diggers and Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, acknowledge their legacy and pass on their story to future generations of young Australians and Papua New Guineans.

SYNOPSIS

A feature-length documentary taking viewers on a fascinating journey of discovery, walking in the footsteps of those, who in 1942, against all odds, withstood Japan’s previously unstoppable Pacific invasion force to preserve Australia’s freedom.

A modern telling of the Kokoda story, its significance in the Pacific War and an exploration of the enduring spirit which sustained the Kokoda Diggers and which still inspires Australians today.

STRUCTURE

The documentary will bring the Kokoda story to life through the eyes of those who fought it - Australians, Papua New Guineans and Japanese – drawing from more than 100 participant interviews that Lindsay has conducted over 25 years (most of whom, sadly, have now left us). The central narrative will interweave these interviews with historic footage, purpose-shot scene setters, drone vision & CGI illustrations of the Track and the iconic battle sites.

It will explore the story’s continuing relevance by showing how the Diggers drew on what we now call ‘the Kokoda spirit’ as they fought for our freedom in 1942 and it will illustrate the continuing power of that spirit today.

It will blend actuality footage and re-enactments with interviews from present-day trekkers to capture the exhilarating experience of walking the Track and the impact it has on the participants.

Remarkable individual stories will confirm the vibrancy of the spirit and its value as part of our national heritage.

ELEMENTS

We’ll meet the heroes of the Kokoda campaign and learn of their timeless sacrifices for their mates and for their families back home.

We’ll meet the descendants of the beloved Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels and learn of the campaign’s impact on them and how they live today.

We’ll experience the Track’s fierce beauty and witness the spell it weaves on the thousands of trekkers who walk it each year

We’ll meet the dedicated team from the KTF working to help improve lives in PNG, with projects like the Kokoda College and Lighting Up The Track.

We’ll explore how the Hawthorn AFL club has incorporated the Kokoda spirit into its team structure, how it inspired a premiership and underpins their philosophies on and off the field.

We’ll see how the Track and the spirit has changed lives … from the remarkable wheelchair athlete, Kurt Fearnley, to politicians like Kevin Rudd and Joe Hockey and millionaire Bill James.

PRODUCTION

Writer/Director Patrick Lindsay will draw on his 25-year study of the campaign and its participants to vividly present the story to the digital generation.

Lindsay has written three books on Kokoda and has produced, written and directed two previous network television documentaries on the campaign: Kokoda … The Bloody Track in 1992; and Kokoda … The Last Parade in 1998.

Director of Photography, Paul Croll, one of Australia’s finest cinematographers, will call on his hard-won experience of more than 20 crossings of the Kokoda Track to capture the drama of the campaign and the treacherous terrain that served as its backdrop.

Croll was DOP on Kokoda … The Last Parade and has filmed many network television features on the Track, including Specials for A Current Affair and the Seven Network.

CROWDFUNDING

We are crowd funding the documentary’s production costs through Creative Partnerships Australia’s (CPA) online crowd funding platform via its Australian Cultural Fund.

CPA is a federal government agency charged with promoting the arts in Australia and it provides donors with tax deductibility.

We’re excited about putting the project up for crowdfunding because we feel it’s the perfect way for Australians to share in the creation of the documentary and to honour the memory of our Kokoda Diggers by keeping their story alive.

We aim to pass on the Kokoda story to the digital generation.

Full details of the project and crowd funding: https://australianculturalfund.org.au/projects/kokoda-the-spirit-lives/

Patrick Lindsay and Papua New Guinea

Lindsay spent more than 25 years in network TV as a reporter, producer, writer and presenter, on the Nine and Seven networks and Sky News. Since 2002 he has been one of Australia’s leading non-fiction authors, having written 20 best-selling books.

Lindsay first visited PNG in 1983 to shoot a series of reports for Nine’s Today program. He briefly visited Kokoda and heard, for the first time in detail, of the remarkable story of the battle that saved Australia. He was captivated by the story and the country.

He returned to PNG in 1985 and 1987, shooting many stories for Nine’s Wide World of Sports. In 1990 and 1991 he was there again to shoot the acclaimed documentary, Kokoda ... The Bloody Track , for the Australian Army. In 1992 he walked the Track for the first time. In 1998 he returned to shoot his second doco, Kokoda ... The Last Parade, the story of the Diggers’ return to the battlefields to say their final farewell to the mates they left behind.

In 2001, Patrick wrote The Spirit of Kokoda, published in 2002 by Hardie Grant. In 2003 he wrote The Spirit of The Digger and The Essence of Kokoda and that year he was one of the founding directors of the Kokoda Track Foundation, an Australian aid organization which aims to help to improve the lives of the people of PNG. He has been KTF’s chairman since 2006.

In 2009 Lindsay wrote Kokoda Spirit, published by Hardie Grant, a richly illustrated telling of the Kokoda story, then and now. In 2011 he created the format for the acclaimed TV series In Their Footsteps (which featured an episode on Kokoda) and which was broadcast by the Nine Network. In 2013 he wrote and created the Kokoda App, for Apple and Android, to bring the story to the digital generation.

In June 2015, Lindsay was named a Member of the Order of Australia for 'significant service to the media as a television presenter and journalist, to international relations, and to literature as an author'.

Lime Tree Studios is an independent production company owned and operated by Patrick Lindsay.

Most recently, it created the format for In Their Footsteps, the highly-acclaimed reality series, which ran on the Nine Network in 2011 and continues to be aired on the network.

It also created the Kokoda App in partnership with the RSL & Services Clubs Association in 2013.

www.kokodathespiritlives.com

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