Hi, I’m Kym Staton, Founder and Director of Films For Change . I’m making a new documentary about and in support of freedom for Julian Assange and the wider issue of free media. This gofundme page is to help cover the costs of the pre-production phase of the making of this powerful new film.
There have been many documentaries made about Assange that perpetuate false narratives or focus on the drama and controversy of the events leading to him seeking refuge at the Equadorian embassy and his subsequent arrest and current incarceration.
Our film will take a very different approach, and instead make a strong case in support of his freedom, highlight the very significant precedent it sets for investigative journalism and independent media, and how the outcome effects every one of us.
I commenced working on this film project in februrary 2021, with researching potential people to include in the film, and sources for archive and news footage. I've done one interview to date - with John Shipton in Melbourne - in May '21. The film is in pre-production stage, which means I am continuing with research, contacting people to invite them to participate, sourcing archive footage and news footage, art, animations, music etc.
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU?
As well as the noble act of suporting this campaign to free assange, and educating and spreading awareness to the wider community on his plight and the associated issue of journalistic freedom, those who support the film in this stage will be part of the journey of the production of this film, and receive regular updates as the project commences. We'll also of course provide all contributers with a link to watch the film online for free once it is eventually completed and launched.
TIME FRAME FOR COMPLETION?
We expect that it will take between 2-6 months to complete the pre-production phase, after which we will begin post-production.
No publicist in history has had such a profound impact on the world that Wikileaks has had. Before Wikileaks, we knew a lot less about the worlds’ powerful institutions and leaders than we do now. We knew only what they wanted us to know. WikiLeaks has enabled us to glimpse rampant corruption and the callousness of war and exposed countless injustices perpetrated by governments and corporations. It was founded on the powerful moral principle that governments and other vested interests should not operate behind walls of secrecy. Wikileaks has released millions of documents of public interest since it was established in 2006, and continues to do so.
No-one can forget or unsee the cruelty that we witnessed in the ‘Collateral Murder’ release. If you have not yet seen it, please look it up on youtube or the wikileaks website.
Julian Assange is the founder of Wikileaks. He has won more than twenty international awards for his journalistm work, and in 2019 was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. A chain of contrived events and smear campaigns over a decade of pursuit by the US government has seen him go from award winning journalist to a freezing high security cell in a London prison.
He remains inside Belmarsh Prison where he continues to be held in the same conditions as convicted murderers and armed robbers. He is now into his third year of arbitrary, pre-trial imprisonment, awaiting the outcome of the US government's application for permission to appeal.
On the 4th of January, a UK judge blocked the US request for Julian's extradition on medical grounds, however she denied Julian bail.
Because of the Covid lockdown Assange is not allowed to receive any visitors. He has also not been permitted to see his lawyers in person in over 12 months.
In early January, a London court rejected the US extradition request concerning Assange, but the problems surrounding his case are far from solved. He still faces a 175-year prison sentence in the United States. He is still being held in the high-security Belmarsh prison, and he still awaiting a final verdict after two years of incarceration.
Every major human rights group, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Reporters without Borders – are on the same page about this issue.
The new Biden administration is appealling against the UK court’s decision, to refuse extradition on the grounds of Assange’s mental health.
Our Free The Truth: Free Assange Documentary will be an appeal to the majority to add their voice to, and magnify the campaign to free Assange. To urge US authorities to drop the charges against him and allow his family to bring him home. By doing so, we would not only free an innocent man, but on a wider sacle, we can take an important step in protecting independent media and free expression.
WHO WILL FEATURE IN THE FILM?
There are so many incredibly insightful thinkers, authors, lawyers and luminaries currently involved in and supporting Assange’s campaign and the free media issue, and we are hoping to include the following brilliant people in our upcoming film (pending their acceptance of our iinvitations):
* Nils Melzer - A Swiss academic, author and practitioner in the field of international law. Since 2016, he has served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment.
* Jennifer Robinson - Australian human rights lawyer and barrister with Doughty Street Chambers in London. Before coming to the Bar, she founded the Bertha Justice Initiative and is Director of Legal Advocacy for the Bertha Foundation in London.
* Tariq Ali - A British political activist, writer, journalist, historian, filmmaker, and intellectual. He is a member of the editorial committee of the New Left Review and Sin Permiso, and contributes to The Guardian, CounterPunch, and the London Review of Books.
* John Pilger - An Australian journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. He is a strong critic of American, Australian, and British foreign policy, which he considers to be driven by an imperialist and colonialist agenda.
* Yanis Varoufakis - A Greek-Australian economist and politician. A former academic, he has been Secretary-General of MeRA25, a left-wing political party, since he founded it in 2018. A former member of Syriza, he served as finance minister of Greece in 2015.
* Stella Morris - who is Assange’s fiancee and partner, and mother of his two children, and is very involved with the campaign for his freedom.
* Christine Assange - Assange’s mother
* John Shipton - Assange’s biological father
Please watch our video above, for a short excerpts from an interview that we’ve recently done with John Shipton in Melbourne.
* The film will also include powerful art, graphics and animations, music, news media footage, and archival footage.
* We are also hoping to obtain permission to include recordings of the powerful expert witness statements from the extraditation hearing by social critic, and political activist Noam Chomsly, and British civil rights Attorney Clive Stafford-Smith. We’re in the process of requesting permission to include this in the film.
* Project Development $2,000
* Travel - $5,000
* Hire of film crew $6,000
* Labour - research $2,000
* Labour - licensing $2,000
* Trailer editing and production $2,000
* Licensing of music and news footage for trailer $1,000
Total = $20,000
The case against Assange has always been politically motivated with the goal of curtailing free speech, criminalising journalism and sending a clear message to potential future whistleblowers and publishers that they too will be punished if they speak out.
The stories for which the US are trying to prosecute him were published by WikiLeaks a decade ago. They revealed war crimes and other shameful actions by the United States government and were clearly in the public interest.
The incarceration of Assange is a grave threat to us all, because it grossly impinges on freedom of speech and preservation of democracy. The current proceedings and the issue and situation as a whole are a litmus test for shared Western values. Free The Truth is an urgent clarion call for humanity to join this important campaign.
We hope to have your help to do the pre-production for this film. If enough people can contribute, we can produce this film, help inform and inspire more people to support and take action on this important case to free Assange, and the wider issues around journalistic freedom that effect all of us. We hope you’ll support our project and receive our updates as the project progresses. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next update.
WHAT IF ASSANGE GAINS HIS FREEDOM BEFORE THE FILM IS COMPLETED?
It would be wonderful if Julian Assange gain his freedom before our film is completed, and we hope that this comes about. If this occurs, we will make some changes to the overall approach and content of our film. We will still cover the Assange story, however it will conly comprise around 20% of the films content. We will aim to include an interview with Assange after his freedom been gained. The overall topic of our film will still be about free media and free speech, however we will also include stories of other journalists who are currently incarcerated.
According to a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), A record number of journalists were imprisoned during 2020. There were at least 274 journalists in jail as of Dec. 1st, 2020. Most recently, In Britain, former Ambassador Craig Murray was sentenced to eight months in prison over his reporting of a Scottish politician’s sexual assault trial. In may 2021, A Ryanair plane from Greece to Lithuania was diverted to Belarus for several hours so that ex-editor of the Nexta group, Roman Protasevich could essentially be kidnapped. Protasevichis considered a threat by Alexander Lukashenko’s dictatorial regime, because he has helped to ensure that the world knows about the pro-democracy movement in Belarus.
The persecution of journalists in the world is ongoing and increasing in frequency. We will focus on some of these current stories, as well as covering the Assange story - in our powerful film 'FREE THE TRUTH'.
Thanks for reading, and for your interest in supporting our the pre-production of our documentary.
Let truth reign!
I'll see you in the next update!
Founder and Director, Films For Change
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
- George Orwell
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