Customer: Stoke on Trent City Council, Stoke City, Friends of Chatterley Whitfield
Location: Stoke on Trent, Lidice, UK, Czech Republic
In 1942 the Nazis – under the command of Adolf Hitler – destroyed the small Czechoslovak town of Lidice, killing all the men and sending the women and children to concentration camps. The ‘Lidice Shall Live’ campaign was launched in Stoke on Trent in September 1942 at the Victoria Hall. The campaign was lead by local MP Barnett Stross who asked workers and miners to donate a weeks wages to help rebuild the village. Around one million pound (in today’s money) was raised to rebuild the village. A remarkable amount when you consider the UK was at war and rationing was in place across the country.
The link between Stoke on Trent and Lidice is an inspiring story of international solidarity and the City Council wanted to produce a film to document the story as part of their commemorations of the 70th anniversary.
We set out to produce a documentary that would be a fitting tribute to the lives and the memories of the people of Lidice. This would mean spending time researching and understanding the history and background to the atrocity before we started to script and shoot the film. Research and an understanding of the subject are critical when producing a documentary film. The integrity and reputation of the film and the producers is on the line and so it’s a critical part of the process and one we dedicated a lot of time to.
Following our research we set about travelling to the Czech Republic to meet with the survivors and to carefully document their stories for use in the film. They spoke very little English and so we worked with a translator to write questions and to record their responses accurately. Capturing their stories and understanding their feelings was the most important aspect of the production and it was an honour to be able to do this.
In the UK Historian, former MP and Director of the V&A Tristram Hunt presented the film and we met with Historians, Ambassadors and people who were at the launch of the ‘Lidice Shall Live’ campaign to tell the story of the ‘Lidice Shall Live’ campaign.