Over the years there have been a slew of WWII films that have been made. It's a period of history that has provided a rich source of cinematic inspiration for filmmakers and cinemagoers alike. More importantly, it's a way to help keep history alive in a world that speeds towards the future every single day. Over the years films about WWII have provided many different stories and perspectives, and Magpie, currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, is providing a very rich new perspective on this pivotal point of world history.
Magpie has been a passion project for both Carmel Hannant (writer & director) and Paul Cook (director of photography) for almost 3 years. It was born from an original story written by Carmel, as well as her avid research into family history that yielded some very surprising stories. Delving deeper into this time period uncovered misrepresentation in popular culture of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (known as 'shell shock' in the 1940s) and the impact of the American Air Force on the area of East Anglia during the War. In addition, through their involvement with the 95th Bomb Group Heritage Association, Carmel and Paul spent a lot of time speaking to veterans and veterans’ families, hearing numerous first hand accounts of the Americans’ time in the UK, and the ways in which the landscape changed not just physically but socially. All of these aspects lend themselves richly to a film that promises to tell untold stories of the War.
As the team point out, "Much of the screenplay for Magpie has been written based on true stories from Carmel’s family history, tales told to her by veterans and taken from letters from 95th servicemen sent back to their families and kindly donated to the museum. The film will aim to remain as faithful to these stories as possible. With the likes of the Eighth in the East and the 95th Bomb Group Heritage Association on board, the film is constantly being developed and researched with this in mind. In our eyes, the smaller, lesser known stories are the most important. Unfortunately, without documentation in popular culture and media accessible to all, they could be forgotten altogether, and we want to preserve as much as possible."
Drawing on the first-hand accounts and Carmel and Paul's tireless research, Magpie's story centres around the film's protagonist, Lily and her husband, George. Whilst on the frontline, George witnesses the death of his best friend.
Upon returning home he becomes detached from his marriage and the reality of his situation. Though this is certainly not a generalisation of those who served, Magpie uses this storyline to portray the suffering that many servicemen (and their families) went through in this period. When the usually attentive George returns from the frontline a changed and distant man, Lily drifts further apart from George and finds comfort in the arms of an American Serviceman stationed at Horham with the 95th Bomb Group. She finds safety and comfort in their friendship whilst George stays confined to their home, growing ever more paranoid and disconnected from their marriage.
But the commitment to preserving history and keeping the stories of WWII veterans alive doesn't end there- there are some fantastic experiential perks available in the Kickstarter which will allow contributors to step back in time and get a sense of the time period, such as a 1940s makeover and photo shoot, and a 1940's dance at the restored Red Feather Club.
8 days remain for the Kickstarter, and you can contribute HERE.
Make sure you also check out Magpie's social media:
Facebook page: Facebook.com/magpiethefilm