From debut feature director PAUL KATIS and writer TOM WILLIAMS (Chalet Girl) comes Kajaki. The True Story, a portrait of a harrowing real life event in the midst of the Afghanistan conflict, and a modern British war film.
Kajaki. The True Story depicts an incident involving a group of soldiers, mostly from the British Army’s 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (3 Para), who were trapped in a minefield while stationed at the Kajaki Dam in Afghanistan in 2006.
A small unit of soldiers is dug into a ridge overlooking the dam. A three-man patrol sets out to disable a Taliban roadblock. In a dried out river bed at the foot of the ridge, one of the patrol detonates a land mine, blowing off his leg and setting into motion a desperate rescue mission.
His fellow soldiers come to his aid, only to find themselves trapped in an unmarked minefield, a relic of the Russian invasion of the 1980s. With no way out, any movement risks certain injury and possible death.
Out of this harrowing day came extraordinary tales of bravery, selflessness and heroism, but also tragic consequences, for leader Corporal Mark Wright and his comrades, who risked their own lives to help each other.
Joining Katis’s creative team are Director of Photography CHRIS GOODGER (Blandings), Production Designer ERIK REHL (The Machine), Costume Designer PHAEDRA DAHDALEH (Rosewater), Make-up and Hair Designer JACQUETTA LEVON (Wild Bill), and Editor BRIN (TV’s Top Gear).
Paul recently won Gold for best director at the Cannes Corporate and Media Awards 2012 for his film, Choose Life. He has also won numerous IVCA awards for Best Director, most recently in 2011 for Exposed starring rising British actress, Karla Crome. His comedy drama The Strange Case of Penny Allison starring Hugh Laurie and Imelda Staunton won the UK Industry award for Best Drama in 2002, and Making it Count in Court starring Andrew Lancel and Sita Indrani earned Paul another Best Drama and Best Directing award in 2004. He has also won Best Director awards in 2005, 2001, 2000 and 1998. Amongst his many other awards is the Gold Camera Award for Direction at the 1995 US International Film and Video awards in New York and the Silver in 1996.
Paul’s short film Starting Over was selected for the Kodak short film showcase and was shortlisted for a BAFTA before being broadcast by Channel Four. This is Paul’s first venture into feature films and he is very excited by the prospect of telling this story.
TOM WILLIAMS’ (Writer) first produced script was the 2011 romantic comedy Chalet Girl, directed by Phil Traill, produced by Pippa Cross and Harriet Rees and starring Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick, Bill Nighy, Brooke Shields and Bill Bailey. It has a 79% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was the highest new entry when it opened in the UK in March 2011 and has since opened in nearly a dozen territories around the world. He has written scripts on commission for numerous British production companies over the last ten years. As well as Kajaki, Tom is currently working on an action film for TV star Bear Grylls, a base-jumping thriller for Vertigo, a big budget romantic comedy and a sitcom.
Tom has also written and directed three festival-screened short films: Angel (2003); East Cliff West Bay (2006), which was bought for transmission by Canal+; and the UK Film Council / South West Screen Digital Short Inconceivable (2009), which was picked up by HBO and the BBC Film Network. East Cliff West Bay and Inconceivable were selected for the prestigious Encounters Film Festival.
GARETH ELLIS-UNWIN (Executive Producer) is an Academy Award- and BAFTA-winning Producer and CEO of Bedlam Film Productions.
After winning a BAFTA nomination and both a Spirit and Dinard award for his first film Exam, Gareth went on to produce the critically acclaimed The King’s Speech. The record-breaking film picked up the TIFF Audience award, 7 BAFTAs including both Outstanding British Film and Best Film and 4 Academy Awards, including Best Film. The film would go on to become the highest grossing British independent film of all time.
Gareth immediately embarked on his next feature, Zaytoun, the moving story of an unlikely friendship between an Israeli fighter pilot and a Palestinian refugee. The film screened at the BFI London Film Festival, AFI Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the Runner Up Audience Award.
ALEC MACKENZIE (Executive Producer) is a Principal and Director of Mackenzie Event Management Ltd, a privately owned SME, registered in Scotland, and supplying a range of specialist business functions within the event management, PR, media and corporate communications market segment. Currently Alec is working as an executive producer in support of Pukka Films Ltd on the movie Kajaki. He was recruited to the Kajaki team to help with raising production finance and lead on liaison with the Hashemite Royal Court, the Jordanian Government, the Royal Film Commission and the Jordan Armed Forces. A former cavalry officer, business leader and advisor to a Head of State, he brings to the project many years experience and understanding of the Middle East.
ALEXA JAGO (Executive Producer) is an acclaimed actress and producer working in Los Angeles, New York and London. She has appeared in over 18 feature films, including Waterworld with Kevin Costner and the Joel Silver-produced TV series The Strip. Alexa started her own production company in Los Angeles, New Horizon Pictures, producing David Carradine’s last film Detention. Alexa has close working relationships with all the major US Studios and is currently putting together a $450m Film Fund, GENESIS for a major US Studio.