By James, Friday 31st October 2014
Pukka Films will debut tense war thriller, KAJAKI. The True Story - an inspiring account of a shocking episode in recent British war history - with a London World Premiere on November 12, followed by a series of special, regional screenings attended by the filmmakers, cast and the real-life current and ex-military service personnel whose story the film tells. These screenings, in advance of the film’s nationwide release exclusively through Vue Cinemas on November 28th, will raise funds for four military charities supported by the production. Premieres will take place at the Vue West End cinema in London’s Leicester Square on November 12th. Advance preview screenings will follow at Vue cinemas in Edinburgh (November 17th), Glasgow (18th), Leeds (24th) and Bristol (25th), attended by the filmmakers, actors from the film and their real life counterparts from those cities.
KAJAKI. The True Story depicts an incident involving a group of soldiers, mostly from the British Army’s 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment [3 Para], who were trapped in a minefield while stationed at the Kajaki Dam in Afghanistan in 2006: A small unit of soldiers is dug into a ridge overlooking the dam. A three man patrol sets out to disable a Taliban roadblock. In a dried out river bed at the foot of the ridge, one of the patrol detonates a land mine, blowing off his leg and setting into motion a desperate rescue mission. His fellow soldiers come to his aid, only to find themselves trapped in an unmarked minefield, a relic of the Russian invasion of the 1980s. With no way out, any movement risks certain injury and possible death. Out of this harrowing day came extraordinary tales of bravery, selflessness and heroism, but also tragic consequences, for leader Corporal Mark Wright and his comrades, who risked their own lives to help each other.
KAJAKI. The True Story is directed by Paul Katis and written by Tom Williams, with Gareth Ellis-Unwin of Bedlam (BAFTA and Academy Award winner for The King’s Speech) one of the Executive Producers. Producers are Paul Katis and Andrew de Lotbiniere, and Executive Producers are Alexa Jago, Alec Mackenzie, Norman Merry, Phil Hunt and Lee Vandermolen.
“There has not been a war movie depicting British soldiers in true events from any conflict since the Second World War seventy years ago. We set out to rectify that with a film that depicts the experiences of soldiers in Afghanistan as they themselves remember. The film is an honest and genuine retelling of an unbelievable true story that sets your pulse racing. It is also a heartfelt tribute to the young men who risk everything for us,” said Katis.
The young British cast is led by David Elliot as Corporal Mark Wright, with Mark Stanley, Scott Kyle, Benjamin O’Mahony, Bryan Parry, Liam Ainsworth, Andy Gibbins, John Doughty, Paul Luebke, Thomas Davison, Grant Kilburn, Robert Mitchell, Jon Paul Bell, Malachi Kirby and Ali Cook.
KAJAKI. The True Story was shot on location in Jordan for six weeks in the summer of 2014, and will be released in 2014 to mark the withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan this year, and in recognition of the valour displayed there.
“Through November we remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country. As our troops withdraw from Afghanistan this year, I hope our film goes some small way to acknowledge the bravery displayed there and the ongoing need for continued recognition and support,” said Ellis-Unwin at a recent BFI London Film Festival event.
The script was developed by Katis and Williams and is based on extensive interviews with the soldiers involved, the family of Corporal Wright and on the army’s Board of Enquiry report into the incident.
All revenue from ticket sales for the Premiere and pre-release screenings, and a portion of the profits from the film’s subsequent release, will benefit equally four military charities – Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion, Walking With the Wounded and The Hashemite Commission for Disabled Soldiers.
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