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Champion: The Franz Stampfl Story
Featuring iconic figures including Sir Roger Bannister, Sir Christopher Chataway, John Landy, Ralph Doubell, Ron Clarke, David Williamson & others, Champion tells the extraordinary story of a pioneer of Sports Psychology and Sports Science and the man who coached Roger Bannister to break the elusive 4 Minute Mile – Franz Stampfl. Through World Wars, Olympic politics, shocking tragedies and inspirational triumphs, filled with plot twists to rival any Hollywood blockbuster, this film promotes the pursuit of excellence in all things, the value of sport & fitness in our society at all levels, the important contribution immigrants make to Australian culture and society, as well as fascinating personal insights into major historical events of the 20th Century. At a time when we all need heroes and to be reminded of the power of one, this documentary tells the tale of one individual's amazing and extraordinary life – showing all of us that anyone, anywhere can do anything if we just dare to believe. Introduction video: https://vimeo.com/98627986

How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

This project would suit any philanthropic organization or patron who wishes to be aligned with a film that explores:

1) the history of Australia's internment policies,focusing on WW2 and the Dunera, and how that has impacted on our society, as well as the impact internment has on the individuals concerned;

2) the importance of health and fitness at any level in young people, as well as adults;

3) the significant contribution that immigration has brought to Australia in the past;

4) stories of the Jewish peoples who were persecuted during WW2 in Austria, and interned in England and Australia;

5) the history of Australia as a growing, multicultural nation who began to have an impact on the world stage as seen through the lens of Athletics and the Olympics from 1955 onward; and

6) the incredible positive contribution one person can make to their community - locally, nationally and globally.

Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

This film will shine a light on an unsung hero of the sporting and motivational arenas, inspiring others to strive for excellence in their own lives. It will move and connect with an audience via the tale of Franz’s amazing and extraordinary life – showing that anyone can do anything if they believe in themselves and their abilities. The ways used to measure the impact of this film will include the engagement of viewers via the official website where people can share their experiences of Franz from around the world and where people can share their experiences of the film once aired. TV ratings, theatrical box office figures and/or streamed downloads/viewings numbers will also act as a measure for the film’s impact once it is released. Additionally, our outreach program will give us further measurement and information about the impact of the film in the wider community.The film is already reaching people from all over the world – we have received numerous communications from people who either knew or worked with Franz, many of whom also donated to the film via the ACF in the early stages of production. As a result we raised enough money to begin filming in Europe in November 2011, where we traveled to London, Oxford, Dublin and Vienna, to interview Sir Roger Bannister, Sir Christopher Chataway, Ulick O’Connor and members of the Stampfl family. We have since filmed in Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast interviewing people such as Olympians John Landy, Ralph Doubell, Ron Clarke, Ken Roche, Ondine McGlashan, Trevor Vincent, Allen Crawley, Marg Woodlock, Lois Jackman, Bob Joyce and Neil Robbins, Dunera Boy - Mike Sondheim, Tim Lincoln (Merv Lincoln's son), John Beaurepaire (Sir Frank Beaurepaire's grandson), Mike Edwards (National Hammer Throw Coach), Bob Lay (General Manager Sport Australia Hall of Fame) among others. To date, we have undertaken thirty one interviews in seven cities over four countries.

What is your education and outreach strategy?

We will be submitting the film to various key film festivals around the world to increase exposure of the topic and subject of the film. We are also planning to have a schedule of community screenings of the film featuring Q&A sessions with available interviewees around Australia and the UK after the festival period, as well as an official launch of our education toolkit, focusing on the messages of the pursuit of excellence for excellence sake alone, the importance of passion and belief, the inspirational messages of never giving up, of always finding a way forward, as well as exploring the elements of world history represented in the film. Ideally, we would also be looking for official theatrical distribution in various territories, as well as television broadcast in Australia. Discussions for the latter are already underway.

In addition, we intend for the official website for the film to contain longer interviews with various official interviewees that go into more detail about Franz's training techniques and philosophy, as well as selected archive footage and photographs taken from the interviewees' personal collections that will show aspects of 20th Century history as seen through their eyes. There will be interactive elements of the site where people can continue the conversation about Franz's contribution, as well as discuss how the film has affected or influenced them. There will also be a place where people who knew Franz personally (to date we have counted over 22,000 people he corresponded with, coached or saw regularly in his casual jogging groups) will be able to share their experiences writing or video or audio online.
Sally McLean
Sally McLean & Ben Steel
Total budget
110 Minutes