Or Janni Schenck is, anyway.
In case you’ve missed the flurry of posts, after fifteen years when for most of them I didn’t think I could write it, after two years of buying every second-hand book I could find and being that sad bloke with the bookshelf full of broken-spined books with black hakencruzen on them (well, if you don’t know it won’t matter, will it?) and a good bout of pneumonia early last winter that I sat through in a daze, I finally wrote the story of a kid of fourteen who was beaten-up by his schoolteacher to save his life.
Why me? Because I won the BBC Writers Room screenplay competition in 2013. Because I heard this story first-hand from the man I always thought of as Janni Schenck.
There were lots of odd things about it. I don’t remember writing for more than twenty minutes, for a start. Pneumonia isn’t all bad, apart from the feeling that you actually really seriously genuinely might die of this. But I didn’t die and when I came out the other side of it 135 pages of properly-formatted feature film script was there in front of me. The day the first draft was done I went on Facebook and met Christa Muths, who had that day coincidentally finished her factual book about German anti-Nazi resistance. And yes, there was a lot of it. And a lot of it was covered-up, for all sorts of reasons.
There being no point in this screenplay sitting in my desk drawer it needs to be made into a film. Film Suffolk like it a lot. But they estimate it needs about £10 million to get it made, as tanks, airplanes and German villages don’t come cheap. So the best plan I have is to go to the Cannes Film Festival and buttonhole people there until I latch on to someone with the courage and the vision to make a film of the truth.
There’s a snag. I don’t have the kind of money or life that allows me to flit off to Cannes and hang out with film directors whenever I feel like it. I’ve sorted some cheap accommodation at sixty euros a night. But I still need money for fares, entry into the Festival, entry to the Marche du Film and living for ten days while the Festival goes on.
You can help in lots of ways. You could contribute directly, but even if you can’t do that you can also help by just sharing this appeal.