I’ve been filming the charities activities on and off, formally and informally, for the last few years.
In 2014, I began making a documentary about the charity – a trip to The Netherlands with 120 World War II veterans taking centre-stage. Working with Hogarth and Ogilvy, and a fantastic crew from Creation Company Pictures, we followed nearly a hundred Black Cabs as they transported the veterans in convoy to take part in the 70th anniversary commemorations for the end of WW2. The first ‘outing’ for our footage has been a commemorative film for the veterans and drivers who took part in the trip – ‘Return of the Liberators’.
Using a combination of observational camerawork and interviews, the film takes the form of a travelogue, interwoven with short interludes – musical performances, and reflections from cab drivers, veterans who fought in Holland or charity committee members. Music plays a large part in the film, mainly because it plays such a large part in the veterans’ lives, and a key role in the charity’s encounters with the veterans. Much of the soundtrack of the film is sung, played and/or performed by the veterans themselves.
The film has been produced on DVD for the veterans and drivers who took part in the trip. I am currently organising screenings of the film so as many people can see it as possible, and also applying for more funding and partners in developing a more rounded documentary for a wider audience.
I am so pleased that the film seems to have meant so much to the charity, the drivers, the veterans and their families.
‘How can I possibly say ‘thank you’, without also saying the same thing to every member of your committee, to your collectors and especially the taxi drivers for the totally unexpected and most welcome DVD. I have now recovered my composure. I did feel very emotional while watching it and quite sure that I was not alone. It was highly emotional but nonetheless most enjoyable. Really looking forward to sharing it with my family in the future. My gratitude for the incredible generosity of the London Taxi Benevolent Association. May you go from strength to strength: you certainly deserve to.’
(Frank Ashleigh, WW2 veteran)
‘Congratulations for capturing our memorable trip to Holland so brilliantly.’
(Ian Parsons, charity committee member)
‘WELL DONE. It brought not one but some tears to my eyes. Personally it is for me a great way to look back at three successful trips.’
(Frans Ammerlaan, Director, Market Garden Foundation)