April 1st is known to many as April Fools Day. Whether it began, as some think, with Chaucer or from earlier Persian traditions, no one is truly sure. All we knew for sure this April the 1st was that we were finally going to be able to share with our generous and supportive donors, colleagues and friends of “A Life Unexpected”, the first teaser footage from our filming in Europe last November. And we weren’t joking!
We were delighted to see so many donors and supporters attend this invite-only function, which was held at the beautiful St Catherine’s School, Toorak with St Catherine’s School Headmistress Dr Sylvia Walton AO in attendance, pictured above with “A Life Unexpected” Associate Producer, event organizer and 1956 Olympian, Marg Woodlock-McLean (who is also an Old Girl of the school).
We are so grateful to have St Catherine’s support for this project and that we were able hold this event in the school’s historic main building – not only because the school has many connections to Franz Stampfl’s story, but also because it is a truly beautiful location and setting for any event – and matched in so beautifully with some of the interiors we had filmed in Europe, particularly Vienna, last year.
With over 60 in attendance, the afternoon began with the serving of excellent red and white wine, kindly donated by two more of our generous sponsors for the day – Morning Star Estate and Hickinbotham of Dromana - and finger food, during which time people wandered between the main Drawing Room and the adjacent Dining Room to look at the various static displays of photos, articles and other memorabilia from Franz’s personal collection, before moving into the Ballroom to watch “The First Reel” – a five minute teaser of the footage we filmed in Oxford, Dublin and Vienna featuring interviews with Sir Roger Bannister, Sir Christopher Chataway, Ulick O’Connor and members of the Stampfl family.
And we are very happy to say that the teaser was very well received by all in attendance. As many in the room had donated to our last fundraising effort, this positive reaction meant a lot to us – as it was these people who had made it possible for us to undertake these interviews and we were thrilled they were so happy with the result – even if it was just a “sneak peek” they got to see!
It was truly lovely to meet all the members of the Como Park jogging group who were able to attend, many of whom shared their memories of Franz and truly added to the atmosphere of the day.
We were also delighted to welcome Olympians, Bob Joyce, Pam Matthews, David Boykett, Jim Barry and Marg Woodlock-McLean who all wore their Olympic blazers for the event, adding dashes of the green and gold in among the crowd – very appropriate considering Franz’s involvement with elite athletes, especially in an Olympic year!
Members of the Melbourne filmmaking fraternity were also present, all of whom have supported this film with great generosity of spirit and their hard earned cash, as have those who have nothing to do with the film industry, but just want to support a story they feel should be told. We are so very grateful and humbled by the support that has been shown by everyone and are now moving forward to the next fundraising phase with renewed passion and enthusiasm!
Special thanks must go to Director of Development at St Catherine’s School, Catherine Middlemiss, for going above and beyond the call of duty for us in the lead up to the event and on the day. Also to Cristin O’Carroll who worked untiringly and with such lovely humour, again in the lead up and during the event. We couldn’t have done it without either of you – thank you both!
Catherine also took all the lovely photos you see here – which will also be put up on the website over the next week. While the teaser that was shown on April 1st will not be available publicly, as that was an exclusive donor event only, a short 30 teaser of the footage filmed will be made available in the next week online – so keep an eye out for that one!
And so, we are now onto Phase 3 of the Fundraising Drive for the film. We have the goal of raising $40,000 by the end of June to enable us to film in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and the Gold Coast. It’s a big goal, but we know we can do it – with a little bit of help from our friends.
If you’d like to know more about how to donate – go to our donation page here: http://www.alifeunexpected.com/donate/index.html. And we thank you for your support.
And onwards and upwards we go!
‘Till next update, take care and thank you all!