THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: 'Movie mercy mission' to Africa for Ulster filmmakers

From the News Letter, July 24, 1979

Friday, 24th July 2020, 6:00 am
An Ulster film crew were set to join a dangerous 4,000-mile mercy mission to deepest Africa, reported the News Letter on this day in 1979. But before the four man crew, which included John Davis, Alywn James, Derek Boden and Ross Graham from Holywood Films Ltd, had a chance to leave home shores for the almost unknown Africa country of Upper Volta (modern day Burkina Faso) they appealed through the News Letter for help with sponsorship
An Ulster film crew were set to join a dangerous 4,000-mile mercy mission to deepest Africa, reported the News Letter on this day in 1979. But before the four man crew, which included John Davis, Alywn James, Derek Boden and Ross Graham from Holywood Films Ltd, had a chance to leave home shores for the almost unknown Africa country of Upper Volta (modern day Burkina Faso) they appealed through the News Letter for help with sponsorship

An Ulster film crew were set to join a dangerous 4,000-mile “mercy mission” to deepest Africa, reported the News Letter on this day in 1979.

But before the four man crew, which included John Davis, Alywn James, Derek Boden and Ross Graham from Holywood Films Ltd, had a chance to leave home shores for the almost unknown Africa country of Upper Volta (modern day Burkina Faso) they appealed through the News Letter for help with sponsorship.

Mr Davis told the News Letter: “We are particularly interested in finding sponsorship for our own trip as we won’t be paid for any work we do. We require film, back-up photographic equipment for both movie and stills photography, camping gear, food, clothing and anything anyone can usefully donate to the cause of the trip.”

The special mission was being organised by the Irish African Friendship Committee and the main aim of the 4,000-mile trek from Dublin was to provide the people of Upper Volta with vehicles, machinery (including a massive printing press) and mechanical supplies.

But it was also the intention of the Ulster film crew intended to make a film of the safari with a view to selling the documentary to worldwide television companies to help raise funds for the charity.

Despite having to face disease and starvation in Africa Alywn James was eager for the adventure ahead.

He told the News Letter: “This is an entirely new experience for all of us. But anyone with a feeling for excitement and adventure would undertake such a trip if it could prove beneficial to a deprived nation.”