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STOP PRESS: Our successful Pozible campaign has raised one third of the film's Stage 1 budget ($50,000). Fund-raising has now begun to raise the remaining $100,000 of the film's $150,000 Stage 1 budget. This budget will produce a feature length (100 mins) documentary film for distribution on DVD and digital download.

If you missed our Pozible campaign and would still like to support the 'SMITHY' film project, please go to:

www.parham-media.com

For the latest news on the project see the 'Smithy' film on facebook and the 'Smithy' blog.
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'SMITHY: Something in Every Hue'
a feature length documentary film about
JOHN SMITH
Founder of the Christian Motorcycle Club
GOD'S SQUAD


a film by
DON PARHAM and WARWICK VINCENT


"I was influenced by an Australian preacher I know called John Smith ... who is a very eloquent speaker with a brilliant mind."
Bono, U2



"John was a man who could take the gospel to anybody ... we were going where the church had no hope of going."
Eddie Pye, Founding Member, God's Squad

"His heart was for the oppressed, it was for the outlaws, it was for the people that had no place to seek God."
Sue Conrau, ex bikie chick


THE FILM


'Smithy' is a feature length, biographical doco about a remarkable Australian, the Rev Dr John 'Bullfrog' Smith, who is probably best known as the founder of the Christian motorcycle club, God's Squad. His wife, Glena, says he got the bullfrog nickname because "John was considered to be the loudest frog in the pond". He has been called 'John Wesley on a motorbike' but Smithy, as he is affectionately known, is more than this - he is an author, social anthropologist, media personality, social commentator, advocate for the poor and marginalised, blues music lover, theologian, motivational speaker, teacher ... and biker.


John and Glena Smith on their wedding day - 16 Dec 1967

As a young man in the late 1960’s, Smithy agonised over the inability of the church to be culturally relevant and engaged with the important social and political issues of the day. So he reinvented himself and, in 1972, God’s Squad was born. In the twinkling of an eye, he went from straight-laced suburban preacher to sharing the stage at Hells Angels’ concerts to addressing a full hearing of the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Smithy has been jailed and nearly executed in the Philippines for defending the rights of rural peasants, and has been an advocate for the marginalised peoples of Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua. He has spoken around the world, making friends of like-minded crusaders such as Bono and ex US President, Jimmy Carter. God’s Squad has also gone global with chapters now in New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Germany, Ukraine, Netherlands and the USA.

Across four frenetic decades, Smithy set up several flourishing community churches with associated welfare arms; completed a doctorate focussing on cross-cultural studies, corporate culture and globalization; wrote five books; had three children … and now has seventeen grandchildren.


John and Glena with their three young children - Lyndal, Paul and Kathy

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Smithy is human - there have been betrayals and splits in his working life, and troubles in his family life. As he says, We’ve walked our children down some paths where they have had to pay a price for what we believe in. But Smithy has never wavered from his original vision. You need a faith to live by and a friend to stand by, he says. Like Jesus, who we follow, we are committed friends of the outcasts of this world.

This warts and all film will tell the real story of the holy bullfrog, John Smith. It will challenge new generations of young people to embrace an authentic faith that makes a difference in their communities and in their world.


THE PRODUCTION TEAM


"Don Parham (is) recognised as one of this country's finest
makers of social documentaries."
Nicole Brady, THE AGE


Don Parham - Writer / Director / Producer
Website: www.parham-media.com

This project is a collaboration between experienced documentary film-maker, Don Parham, and an emerging film-maker, Warwick Vincent. Don has, over the last 25 years, written, directed and produced an eclectic mix of films that have screened on the ABC and SBS. Warwick has, over the last few years, filmed a comprehensive set of interviews with John Smith. Don and Warwick also shot some invaluable footage at the God's Squad 40th anniversary late last year. (See below for more detailed Bios.)

The other main team member is Associate Producer, Vic Campbell, who will also be in charge of fund-raising, PR and marketing. Vic is an old friend of Smithy and also of Don Parham - they worked together on some music videos and docos early in Don's career with artists like Rod Boucher and Rosanna's Raiders. Vic and Don teamed up again recently to do the doco, 'Forgiven People', which screened on Channel 7 earlier this year.


Vic Campbell, producer of 'Forgiven People' which screened on Channel 7

Don Parham and Warwick Vincent both have a couple of quirky personal links with Smithy - Warwick and his wife bought the house that Smithy and his family lived in for 40 years. Don, when he was a professional photographer 25 years ago, took the photo on the cover of John's autobiography. The photo of John on his red Harley, used at the top of this website, was taken on the same shoot.


Warwick Vincent, film-maker


STAGES OF PRODUCTION and the POZIBLE CAMPAIGN


The overall budget for the ‘Smithy’ film project is $300,000 broken into the following two stages of production –

1. Stage 1 of Project – Budget: $150,000

(i) Produce a feature length (100 mins) documentary film for distribution on DVD and digital download.
(ii) Produce a Study Guide to accompany the film when sold into the educational sector.

2. Stage 2 of Project – Budget $150,000

(i) Seek free-to-air TV and/or Pay-TV sales of the film leading to the re-versioning of the film, as required, for different audiences, program durations and produced to full broadcast spec.
(ii) Seek an international distributor for the film.

This Pozible campaign is focused on Stage 1 of the Project and seeks to raise one third of the budget, ie $50,000. If we are fortunate enough to raise more than the target amount through the Pozible campaign it will simply reduce the portion of the $150,000 budget we have to raise through other sources (see below).

Our target is to raise another one third of the budget ($50,000) through DVD sales.

We hope to raise the remaining one third of the budget for Stage 1 of the Project ($50,000) via the Documentary Australia Foundation where we recently succeeded in having the ‘Smithy’ project added to their list of approved films. Corporate and other sponsors interested in making larger, tax deductible donations to the project, should go to the 'Smithy' web page on the DAF website here. For any other enquiries, contact the producer, Don Parham, here.

Finally, our aim for Stage 2 of the Project is that funding will come from broadcaster and Pay-TV pre-sales supported by investments from film funding bodies and an international distributor.


Warwick Vincent filming with Nungalinya students in Darwin, Australia


ANTICIPATED COMPLETION DATES


Stage 1 of Project – 30 June 2014

Stage 2 of Project – Christmas 2014

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Some Of My Previous Work



Don Parham directing 'Riot or Revolution', his film for the ABC about the Eureka Stockade

DON PARHAM Filmography **

'FORGIVEN PEOPLE' - 3 stories of faith and forgiveness (half hour, Channel 7)

'THE CHOICE' – personal stories about abortion (one hour, SBS-TV)

'RIOT OR REVOLUTION' - about the Eureka Stockade, 1854 (one hour, ABC-TV)

'WHY MEN PAY FOR IT' - men talk candidly about buying sex (one hour, SBS-TV)

'LIFE IS TOO SERIOUS' - about the composer George Dreyfus (one hour, ABC-TV)

'LOVE'S TRAGEDIES' - about adultery (one hour, ABC-TV)

'BIG HAIR WOMAN' - a 'docu-comedy' set in Papua New Guinea, starring Mary Coustas as 'Effie' (one hour, Network TEN)

'WE'RE ALL INDEPENDENT NOW' - about relationships, marriage and divorce (one hour, SBS-TV)

'DEADLY HURT' - about the feminist analysis of male violence against women (one hour, SBS-TV)

'THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN DREAMING' - about the Australian dream of home ownership (one hour, SBS-TV)

'BIG PEOPLE, SMALL PEOPLE' - about the distribution of wealth in Australia (2 x one hour, SBS-TV)

'SOMETHING YOU CALL UNIQUE' - about youth homelessness (one hour, SBS-TV)

** Writer, director, producer on all of the films listed except 'Forgiven People' (Director)

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The Challenges




It is surprising that no-one has yet attempted to tell the John Smith story in a documentary film. That's probably because it is such a complex, multi-layered story demanding extensive research and a high level of film-making expertise. It's not easy to make 'longform' documentaries of a 'television hour' in duration, let alone the even more demanding 'feature length' that this film will be. It's difficult to put such a large story together - getting the 'narrative arc' right is crucial and less experienced film-makers tend to lose their way with the result that the film starts to wander or drag on too long.

This film could also be a bit of a logistical nightmare because anyone who knows Smithy, knows that he is not an easy man to pin down. That's where Vic Campbell, long time friend of John and Glena, will be very useful. One of Vic's other hats is as a manager of musos so he is used to working with 'difficult artistes'!

The time has come to tell Smithy's amazing story - to do it professionally and properly. Take a look (or another look) at the 7 minute 'teaser tape' at the top of the page or below (NB: remember to select the HD option if you want to view the videos in the best quality available on YouTube). The teaser uses John's favourite genre of music - blues - and has some wonderful archival footage of God's Squad on the road which was shot (and generously made available) by cinematographer, Dean Herring.

Note that we've cut the teaser, not as an over-hyped trailer that gives you a false expectation about the film, but in the thoughtful and measured style in which the real film will be made. Watch it as if you were seeing the first 7 minutes of the actual film we're going to make about Smithy.

At the end of the day, we believe we are the right team to be making this film. Smithy is totally supportive of the project and has given us exclusive access. With so much good interview material already shot by Warwick and with Don's extensive track record in making many successful longform documentaries for broadcast television, you can be confident that this challenging film will get made, and get made well.

What else can we say? It's going to be a winner!


Successful
on 17th Oct 2013 at 1:00pm. The payment portal is closed now.
AU$25 +* Signed thank you letter from John Smith * Thank you credit on the film
32 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2014
AU$50 +* Signed thank you letter from John Smith * Thank you credit on the film * Free online viewing of the film available for one week after the official film launch
29 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2014
AU$100 +* Signed thank you letter from John Smith * Thank you credit on the film * Free 'Sneak Preview' online viewing of the film available for one week either side of the official film launch
27 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2014
AU$250 +* Signed thank you letter from John Smith * Thank you credit on the film * Free 'Sneak Preview' online viewing of the film available for one week either side of the official film launch * DVD of 'Smithy' doco which will include many 'extras' such as extended interviews not shown in the main film
25 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2014
AU$500 +Everything from the $250+ Reward plus: * 'Bronze Sponsor' credit on the film * 2 x VIP seats at the Melbourne launch of the film
16 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2014
AU$1000 +Everything from the $250+ Reward plus: * 'Silver Sponsor' credit on the film * 2 x VIP seats at the Melbourne launch of the film * Invite to a 'meet and greet' session with John Smith before the start of the launch, exclusively for 'Silver Sponsors'
5 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2014
AU$2500 +Everything from the $250+ Reward plus: * 'Gold Sponsor' credit on the film * 4 x VIP seats at the Melbourne launch of the film * Invite to a lunch with John and Glena Smith and the film-makers, exclusively for 'Gold Sponsors' (Melbourne only)
1 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2014
AU$5000 +Everything from the $250+ Reward plus: * Special credit on single screen at end of film - includes Company/Individual name + logo after the words - "This film could not have been made without the generous support of the following major sponsors" * 6 x VIP seats at the Melbourne launch of the film * A private dinner with John and Glena Smith for 'Major Sponsor' and guest (maximum of 3 sponsors and guests per dinner, Melbourne and/or other capital cities if possible)
0 Chosen | Unlimited AvailableEst. delivery is August 2014