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Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Award-winning filmmaker and journalist Janet van Eeden has launched a crowd-sourcing campaign for her film, A Shot at the Big Time. The film was inspired by the story of her brother, Jimmy, who took his own life rather than fight in the Apartheid Border War, a war he didn't believe in.

Van Eeden, who wrote the script for the internationally acclaimed White Lion (2010), has taken nine years to write the poignant story about her brother’s experience and is now ready to put it on the big screen.

“I've launched a crowd-sourcing campaign on to raise production funds for this film after the conventional fund-raising platforms didn't help me,” she explains. “This film is timeless, a film about the young men who gave up their lives to fight in a war they had no desire to fight. Every white boy in South Africa in the 70s, 80s and early 90s was conscripted into military service. After three months of brutal basics they were spat out onto the border to kill their so-called enemy. “

A Shot at the Big Time traces the life of her brother and one of his black friends who just wanted to play music. “They had no interest in waging war against each other - they just wanted to be rock stars,” she says. “Then Jimmy received his call-up papers. Forced into the brutal regime of the military, with a sergeant who had it in for him, and after a fatal accident, he had a mental breakdown. He was removed from service and placed in a mental home to recover. He just started to find his feet when the army drafted him again and sent him into armed combat on the Angolan border with the instruction to seek and destroy. His broken heart couldn’t do this. So instead of fighting, he released the bullets from his rifle and walked straight into the line of enemy fire, strumming his gun, like his beloved guitar.”

“We need funding!” enthuses van Eeden. “But we're not asking for money for nothing. Even $10 will get you a co-producer's credit and $100 gets you a copy of the novel, Width of a Thread, which is based on the screenplay, and a Radio Rats CD. Then $1000 gets you all of the above, plus a chance to appear in the film in a crowd scene as well as to send in your auditions for the roles. The main roles will be auditioned online.”

A number of songs have already been written by Jonathan Handley of the Radio Rats who was so moved by reading the script that he recorded songs which can be viewed on the Indiegogo website.

"We have crowd-sourced some amazing people so far,” says Van Eeden. “I didn’t realise how much crowd-sourcing is as much about finding incredible people to help on this project as it is about money. So far we have: Paul Dwyer’s Graphic Design company working on the poster in Australia through the skills of Justin Webber; there is communications /PR consultant Sharlene Versfeld doing sterling duty as our press agent, and we have wonderful Mayan Films’ producer Magda Olchawska keeping me on my toes and thinking big – just what I needed.

“Recently joined last week, Cal Harding is now working his wizardry with the Shot website.” Van Eeden continues. “This coming week Don van Orr is going to shoot the new promo piece to go on the opening page of this site. He is an award-winning young director so I can’t wait to see what he comes up with. Did I mention these are all pro bono? Can’t believe what good people there are around. Thank you all! We’re going to make a great movie."

See the Indiegogo site for details: