'Journey' is an overworked word these days, but I can think of none other to describe the making of a documentary film. Ten years ago, a film of mine could be made in six months, even less. The main work was the research, the journalism.Whenever I felt confident I had the basis of a 'story', I would go to the ITV Network in the UK and seek a broadcast commission. If that was forthcoming, ITV would fund the production. The difference now is that I, the film-maker, must raise most of the production money. Also, my documentaries have changed considerably in recent years. They are now made for the cinema as well as TV, and for the internet.
I've made three films this way, The War on Democracy (2007), The War You Don't See (2010) and Utopia (2013). Utopia took more than two years to make.
In raising the money for these films, I've been fortunate to find sympathetic philanthropists and foundations, and persuade them to contribute without attaching any editorial strings. But these benefactors are rare, and tracking them down is probably the hardest part of film-making now and, frankly, not the kind of work I ever saw myself doing - I've always preferred simply to do the job I knew - journalism.
I've lately embarked on another film journey - this will be my 60th documentary. ITV has commissioned the film, and provided seed money. The working title is The Coming War Between America and China, and the film will tell the largely unreported story of a new US strategic policy known as 'the pivot to Asia'. In a nutshell, what this means is that the US is preparing for a new provocative cold war that has every chance of becoming a hot war. Washington has begun to move its main missile and naval forces into the Asia-Pacific in order to surround and 'confront' China, whose extraordinary economic rise in recent years is regarded in Washington as a threat to American dominance. For obvious reasons, I won't lay out here the 'where, what and why'. Suffice to say the film will be shot in some surprising places where I'll meet and interview extraordinary people. Above all, it will be revealing: that is assured.
Having read this far, you're sure to guess that this message is heading towards another modern cliché - an 'ask'. My colleagues at Dartmouth Films and I need to raise at least £60,000 or $100,000 in order to start making the film. This money won't meet unforeseen costs or pay for distribution and promotion, but it will allow for the promised philanthropy, on which the bulk of the film's funding depends, to come on stream and for filming to begin.
And that's where you come in.
This is known as 'crowd funding' and, as you can guess, it's my first day in this strange new world. If you can give £5 - that's about $10 - no more - I'll be grateful. For your part, you'll have made a vital contribution to a film whose disclosure and warning are, I believe, urgently needed. I'm hopeful you'll be proud of the result. Thank you.
You can contribute here
John Pilger's address to the Logan Symposium, 'Building an Alliance Against Secrecy, Surveillance & Censorship', organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism, London, 5-7 December, 2014. You can also watch the address here
John Pilger investigates the rise of WikiLeaks and the Kafkaesque saga that has enveloped its founder, Julian Assange, since he blew the whistle on the dangers and lies of great power and its courtiers.
In an article for the Guardian, John Pilger marks the death of former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam with the one story missing from the 'tributes' to a man whose extraordinary political demise is one of America's dirtiest secrets.
In his latest essay, John Pilger evokes the US bombing of Cambodia in the 1970s, which gave rise to Pol Pot and the genocidal Khmer Rouge, in examining the rise of the equally fanatical ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the role of Western governments, and the urgent need for solutions that include a truce in Syria, and justice for the Palestinians.
In an article for the Guardian, John Pilger reports on how the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, seeks to regain his lost popularity with an outback circus in which he performs in the role of war leader.
On 31 August, following the release of his latest film Utopia, John Pilger spoke at the 'Festival of Dangerous Ideas' at the Sydney Opera House. In conversation with Liz Ann Macgregor, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, he discussed the devotion in Australian public life to the 'a status quo of unmentionables'. You can watch the conversation here.
Interviewed by Channel 7's Andrew O'Keefe in Sydney ahead of the FODI, John Pilger describes how an insidious censorship works in a free society such as Australia. Watch the extended online version of the interview.
On 11 September, John Pilger gave the Edward Said Lecture in Adelaide, in memory of the great Palestinian educator, writer, visionary. His subject was 'The Last Taboo: Gaza and the threat of world war'. Read an adaptation of the lecture.
WATCH UTOPIA ONLINE | TRAILER | JOHN PILGER'S VIDEO MESSAGE | SCREENINGS | REVIEWS | BUY DVD (UK) | BUY DVD (AUS) | OFFICAL UTOPIA WEBSITE
John Pilger's epic new film, Utopia, had its premiere in the urban heart of Indigenous Australia, in Sydney, on 17 January 2014. A record crowd of 4,000 included Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians who came from all over the country to hear the call for a renewed struggle for justice and freedom for Australia's first people. Since then, Utopia has had a remarkable 'journey' across Australia's vastness, screening at packed events in cities, towns and remote communities.
On 30 January 2014, Utopia began its Australian cinema release at Cinema Nova in Melbourne.
Utopia was broadcast nationally on SBS Australia on 31 May.
For details of screenings of Utopia in Australia and New Zealand, visit the official Utopia website
For all distribution enquiries in Australia, contact Gil Scrine of Antidote Films on [email protected] For community events, contact Paddy Gibson at [email protected] For all other enquiries, please use the contact form on this website.
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Click here for more information about the film.
The public response to the broadcast of Utopia on the ITV Network has been widespread across the UK. Many people have asked what they can do to support Aboriginal people in their struggle for justice.
I recommend that people write to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, calling on him to start, without delay, negotiations for a fully constituted Treaty between the Commonwealth of Australia and all the First Nations of Australia. This would included long overdue restitution and universal land rights.
The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP
CANBERRA ACT 2600
I suggest you copy your message to the Australian press.
Watch this video by 'concerned Australians' calling for a Treaty with Australia's First People.
Please consider donating, or supporting the campaign initiatives from the following organisations:
Grandmothers Against Removals
A growing national network led by Aboriginal grandmothers campaigning for an end to the forced removal of Aboriginal children
Culture is Life
The rate of youth suicide in Indigenous Australia is now the highest in the world. Indigenous Elders are calling for support to help them heal their communities. This is their campaign.
The Intervention Rollback Action Group
Campaign group in Alice Springs organising public meetings and protests to end the NT Intervention and win self-determination for Aboriginal people.
In his latest essay, John Pilger describes the liberal "one-way, legal/moral screen" behind which great power and its Orwellian propaganda ensure an impunity for war and deception, dependent on what Leni Riefenstahl called our "submissive void".
In an article for the Guardian, John Pilger reveals that the story of the first Australians is still one of poverty and humiliation, while their land yields the world's biggest resources boom.
In this essay based on his Edward Said Memorial Lecture in Adelaide, John Pilger argues that the assault on Gaza represents a wider threat to us all, and with episodic dangers in Ukraine, and the accompanying propaganda, we are drawn closer to world war.
In an investigation for the Guardian, John Pilger expands the evidence in his new film, 'Utopia', to reveal the scandal of a second Stolen Generation.
In his latest column for the New Statesman, John Pilger steals a march on the Oscars with the 'celebrity Oscars' - 'those whose ubiquitous self promotion demands recognition'.
John Pilger describes censorship in 'free societies' on a special edition of BBC Radio 4's Today programme guest-edited by artist and musician PJ Harvey.
John Pilger examines propaganda as not so much a conservative concept as a quintessentially liberal concept, an extremism that never speaks its name.
John Pilger describes the augmented Anglo-American government and media campaign against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as Assange is granted political asylum by Ecuador and remains in that country's London embassy.
John Pilger describes how sports-obsessed Australia's disappointing showing at the London Olympics offered a glimpse of a secret past.
John Pilger describes the politicising of the law in western democracies and the emergence of increasingly draconian police powers: the corollary of a contrived state of 'permanent war'. Why should this be accepted?
John Pilger's latest film 'The War You Don't See' is now available to watch online (worldwide excluding Australia) for $4.99
'The War You Don't See' premiered at the Barbican in London on Tuesday 7 December 2010 and on British television on Tuesday 14 December 2010. It is also available to buy on DVD in the UK and in Australia
On 7 June 2011, the Lannan Foundation in the United States banned the film and cancelled a visit by John Pilger without explanation. Read John Pilger's response to Patrick Lannan's subsequent statement about the cancellation.
On 17 November 2011, John Pilger presented 'The War You Don't See' at its Indian premiere in Delhi. Read an interview with John Pilger in The Indian Express.
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Watch the trailer | John Pilger - Why are wars not being reported honestly? | Watch Democracy Now! interview with John Pilger about the film | Read New Internationalist interview with John Pilger about the film | Listen to a BBC Radio 4 interview with John Pilger about the film | ABC Breakfast interview | ABC Late Night Live interview | ABC Book Show interview
More about the film.
John Pilger argues that years of 'identity politics' have had a marked effect on those who might otherwise see clearly the principles raised by WikiLeaks and the need to defend Julian Assange.
Welcome to the new John Pilger website, a remarkable resource and historical record and now arguably the most comprehensive online collection of the work of a leading journalist. For the first time, the majority of John Pilger's 58 films for television and cinema can be viewed online. New features include a video and article search, a newsletter, social media tools and an RSS feed. The site's relaunch has been made possible by the University of Lincoln, which is preparing a complete digital archive of John Pilger's work.
John Pilger describes the disenchantment with parliamentary politics as the British "coalition" government pursues its devotion to 'an extreme political cult of money worship'. He suggests there is only one course of action now.
As the 33 Chilean miners are brought to the surface after ther epic rescue, John Pilger describes the unspoken life in Chile behind the media facade that the government of President Sebastion Pinera has skilfully exploited.
John Pilger says that while the dangers of Rupert Murdoch's dominance are understood, the role played by the respectable media, such as the New York Times and the BBC, notably in the promotion of colonial wars, is at least as important.
John Pilger examines the effect of 'extreme corporatism' - money - on sport. He contrasts the last of the great sporting stars who were not celebrities in the modern sense with the enrichment of Rupert Murdoch and the corruption of sports like cricket.
John Pilger traces the history of propaganda to Edward Bernays, the American nephew of Sigmund Freud, who invented the term "public relations". Bernays believed in "engineering public consent" and creating "false realties" as news. Here are examples of how this works today.
John Pilger describes the importance of Wikileaks as a new and fearless form of investigative journalism that threatens both the war-makers and their apologists, notably journalists who are state stenographers.
John Pilger writes about the "paramount war crime" defined by the Nuremberg judges in 1946 and its relevance to the case of Tony Blair, whose shared responsibility for the Iraq invasion resulted in the deaths of more than a million people. New developments in international and domestic political attitudes towards war crimes mean that Blair is now 'Britain's Kissinger'.
John Pilger describes how an all-pervasive corporate media culture in the United States prepares the way for a permanent state of war. And yet for all the column inches and broadcast hours filled, the brainwashing is not succeeding. And this, he suggests, is 'America's greatest virtue'.
John Pilger describes the "master illusions" which have formed the basis of black propaganda and provided "false flags" for political chicanery and for wars and atrocities, such as Iraq and the Israeli assault on the Gaza peace flotilla.