I’ve recently delivered the fourth and final draft of my first commissioned movie script. It’s a ten-minute animation
called DIETRICH BONHOEFFER, and deals with the titular character’s resistance to Hitler from within Germany.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was perhaps the world’s most unlikely dissident – a conservative and highly intellectual
theologian from a comfortable upper-middle-class German family. If the Nazis had not come to power Dietrich
would have spent his life as a respected but obscure university professor in Berlin. As it was he resisted Hitler for
an amazing twelve years, firstly by attempting to prevent the Nazification of the German Protestant church, and
eventually playing a minor part in Operation Valkyrie, the German plot to assassinate Hitler. He ended his life in a
concentration camp just weeks before the end of the war.
To tell the story I’ve used a mix of history and humour, with a James Bond joke, a Terry Gilliam reference and even Adolf Hitler going door-to-door with a collecting tin: “I wonder if you’d consider supporting the Nazi party? Our
policies are the extermination of the Jews and the Gypsies, the subjugation of the whole of Europe and the
enslavement of lesser races. No? Perhaps you’d take a leaflet?…”
Writing the script was a powerful experience, mining Dietrich’s amazing life for episodes that could be used
visually and to show the humanitarian principles he stood for. I’ll confess to in being tears sometimes, especially as I was writing the last pages.
The script was commissioned by The Lives of the Dissidents project – my deep thanks to Patrick Lavery there for
this opportunity. Pending funding, the film will go into production in 2015.