It is early on Monday morning here in Melbourne and I am still at my desk after working through the night on the ongoing collation of all the archive material we have collected and sourced over the time this film has been in the idea stage, then development, then production.
As I trawl my way through spreadsheets of numbers, descriptions, locations, names and other data for each image, piece of footage and document (of which there are currently over 1,000 items) – entering the details into each column with as much precision as I can muster at 7am in the morning after fourteen hours straight at the computer and no sleep, I find myself feeling very grateful and so humbled by the support and encouragement we are receiving from all over the globe for this film.
Many of these items have been sourced from private collections, willingly entrusted to us to help tell Franz’s story to the world, others have come from official sources who have helped by reducing costs for licensing content, or simply freely given us access to help see the film to completion. And all come with emails or typed or handwritten notes of support:
“Keep going – Franz would have approved of your commitment”, reads one.
“This is like running a marathon – you’re close to the finish line, so don’t stop!”, says another.
“I never knew about this man, but I have become so interested in him since looking through our archive for you – good luck with the film, I can’t wait to see it!” writes yet another generous soul.
I find it extraordinary how this film is already bringing together a large community of individuals who may come from different countries and have different interests, but are all such generous, lovely, interested people who are sending us their best wishes and cheering us on from the sidelines.
One of the strongest aspects for me with this film is the people who have come together to make it happen – our production team, our donors, our investors – and our supporters, who keep us going – keep me going – with a kind word, a note of encouragement or a new lead to new information – enabling in me a sense that this can be done, that the impossible is possible – no matter how I’m feeling on any given day or how much work there is still yet to do.
And with Olympians and World Champions, among others, urging us on with such a clear understanding of what it is taking the core team to make this documentary happen, I have no option but to feel privileged and thankful (and grateful I’m not actually running a marathon for real!).
So, as my eyelids begin to droop and the sun begins his journey across the Southern Hemisphere for another day, I want to say a personal thank you to all of you. Thank you for lifting me up when I’m tired. Thank you for saying the right thing at the right time to keep me motivated. Thank you for seeing what I see in this story – and for keeping me focused and on track when sometimes the road seems too long and far too hard.
You are all versions of Franz to me – reflecting back his philosophies and reminding me of the power of the human spirit – you keep me and the team going and believing and striving – and for that, I am very, very grateful.
With much love and thanks to you all.
Sally McLean is the Writer/Director/Producer of “A Life Unexpected: The Man Behind The Miracle Mile” and, when time permits, also an actor and playwright. Read Sally’s biog here.