Thursday, November 24, 2011

'A Shot at The Big Time' - Janet van Eeden's dedication to her beloved brother, Jimmy, lost in combat aged 21.

A Shot at the Big Time.     by Janet van Eeden

Clarence Hutton, Jimmy and David Parkin 

In the centre, Jimmy aged 16 going on 17...

Our Story

This is based on the true story of my brother in particular, and about the futility of war in general. I have used my brother’s story which is Oedipal in its tragic intensity to focus on the senselessness of the South African Defence Force’s (SADF) conscription campaign during the 70s, 80s and 90s in this country. This film will include the experience of one soldier in Mkhonto WeSizwe (MK), the military wing of the ANC. It is an anti war film in the classic tradition of Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Birdy, M.A.S. H. and Catch 22, amongst others. It is also a tirade against cruel authority and fundamentalism of all kinds. For this reason One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a model I used in writing this film.     

The only thing Jimmy, my brother, didn’t want to do was to kill another human being. The terrible irony is that by trying to defy the army and its constrictions, he broke the rules and went AWOL, taking a rifle with him to give the finger to the forces in the way he thought best. Through a series of random coincidences an innocent woman was killed by a ricochet bullet from his rifle when he and his friends were firing into the local rubbish dump. This caused him to have a mental breakdown. He was put into a mental institution. But it didn’t take long for the army to reclassify him as fit to serve on the border. There he was forced to engage in active combat. Three days after his arrival, he was dead. Official reports said he was killed by a ricochet bullet. I believe, and people who were on the border at that time told me, that he shot himself rather than engage in active combat.

 The Impact
I would like to tell his story and that of all those young men who went into the army at the age of seventeen on both sides of the combat. South African men are still suffering severely as a result of what they went through in conscripted service and everyone I’ve spoken to who has been through this system has urged me to tell this story. I believe this story would go a long way to healing the wounds of the men of South Africa who have never come to grips with the result of the war on their psyches.

What We Need & What You Get

We need production money! We've got the wonderful sound track written by Jonathan Handley of the Radio Rats who has done it all out of love - no money. We have my screenplay in its final draft also written for love - no money. I have written the novel of the film which is due to be published early next year to coincide with the film going in to production. This will be one of the giveaways for those who contribute funds. We want to start filming early next year and have the film ready for release by the end of 2012.

 Other Ways You Can Help
We'd love to get people to help with POSTER  DESIGN! 
DO IT WITH OTHERS (DIWO) - the poster is just one aspect we'd love to have help with. 
We're going to run an online casting session too for the lead roles and we'll need your help to decide WHO WILL PLAY THE LEAD ROLES! 
Here's your chance to become a CASTING DIRECTOR!!

Click onto the Indiegogo Website here and listen to two music videos from Jonathan Handley who wrote the music especially for A Shot at the Big Time, after reading the script.

My own website is here.

And my blogspot is here:

Janet is a well known script writer and freelance writer. Her courage to share her story of the futility of her beloved brother's death at the tender age of 17 is indicative of her dedication to Jimmy and to all young boys lost to the ravages of senseless war and conscription.
 You can help by forwarding Janet's project to others who may be able to assist with sponsoring the film and/or assist with being a casting director, acting in the film or designing the posters etc. Thank you...

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