The Telegram Man: Director James Francis Khehtie discusses his award winning short

Jack Thompson as Bill Williams, the telegram man

Written by James Francis Khetie

One of the last Australian films shot on super 35 mm film, The Telegram Man was four years in the making from securing the film rights to raising the finance to gaining the interest of the film’s three screen icons. The film did not receive any form of government funding. It was definitely a big challenge for me trying to get it off the ground. I raised the finance privately myself, hoping that someday it would be enough to make a film that would do justice to the story. It was well worth the effort since The Telegram Man has been so well received here in Australia, as well as overseas, particularly in the United States, where the film has been screened in more than 50 different film festivals across the country.

Sigrid Thornton as Barbara Lewis

I had the good fortune to visit the United States on a festival-sponsored trip to present and talk about The Telegram Man. In each of the festivals and special events I attended here in Australia and the United States, audiences would approach me after the screenings to let me know how the film had deeply touched their hearts.

Some were parents whose children were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some were war widows whose spouses recently died while serving in these two countries. A number of Australian audiences remembered those stories told by their grandparents of how they went through the horrors of World War II, not seeing their sons, husbands, brothers or fathers for the entirety of the War, not knowing from week to week if they were alive or shot dead in some obscure jungle, and the frightening knock on the door, not knowing if it was the telegram man on the other side of the door.

Gary Sweet as John Lewis

I have also been receiving numerous letters from soldiers and returned veterans describing how The Telegram Man emotionally moved them.

As a filmmaker, it is the greatest joy to know that the film, in which you poured years of blood, sweat and tears to make, resonates well and strikes a chord with audiences.

The Telegram Man

Directed and Produced by James Francis Khehtie
Starring Jack Thompson, Gary Sweet and Sigrid Thornton

Starring Australian screen legends Jack Thompson, Gary Sweet and Sigrid Thornton, The Telegram Man is directed and produced by James Francis Khehtie.

A BAFTA Los Angeles® winner and Australian Academy Awards® nominee, The Telegram Man explores the impact of World War II on a close-knit Australian farming community. The film was selected, out of more than 15,000 entries submitted from around the world, as one of the 50 semi-finalists for Your Film Festival, a global film competition conducted by Ridley Scott, Michael Fassbender, Google, Emirates and the Venice Film Festival.

A recipient of more than 40 awards, The Telegram Man has been screened in more than 120 film festivals and special events around the world. The film will be screening at the 2016 ANZAC Day Commemoration in Gallipoli, Turkey, following its successful screenings to over 26,000 people just prior to the Dawn Services at the 2012 – 2015 Commemorations.

Regarded as a film of artistic, cultural and historical significance by the OSCARS® | Academy Awards® Film Archive, THE TELEGRAM MAN is part of its permanent collection at the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood. The Archive collects, preserves and provides access to moving images that represent significant contributions to the art and science of motion pictures.

THE TELEGRAM MAN is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video and Verizon FiOS.

 

AWARDS

2011 BAFTA LA® (British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles®) PRIZE
United States
BEST SHORT HONORABLE MENTION
2011 Academy Awards®-accredited Rhode Island International Film Festival, United States
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM
2011 GI Film Festival, United States
BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT AND BEST INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR
2012 Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, United States
BEST DRAMA
2012 New York City Downtown Short Film Festival, United States
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
2012 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, United States
BEST SHORT DRAMA AND BEST DIRECTOR HONORABLE MENTION | SPRING 2012
2012 Asians On Film Festival, United States
FESTIVAL TOP HONOR | BLUE WAVE AWARD
2012 Lakeshorts International Short Film Festival, Canada
EXCELLENCE AWARD
2012 Rincón International Film Festival, Puerto Rico
AWARD OF PLATINUM REEL | BEST SHORT FILM
2012 Lucerne International Film Festival, Switzerland
BEST SHORT NARRATIVE
2013 Tacoma Film Festival, United States
BEST PICTURE
2013 Cluj Shorts International Short Film Festival, Romania
BEST DRAMA
2014 Hyart Film Festival, United States
BEST AUSTRALIAN SHORT FILM AND AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD SPECIAL MENTION
2013 Clare Valley Film Festival, Australia
BEST SHORT FICTION FILM NOMINEE
2012 AFI (Australian Film Institute) | AACTA (Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award), Australia
BEST FILM JUDGES’ CHOICE
2012 Mudfest (Mudgee International Short Film Festival), Australia
FIRST PLACE UNDER 30 MINUTES
2012 Forster Film Festival, Australia
PEOPLE’S CHOICE
2012 Heathcote Film Festival, Australia
BEST FILM AND PEOPLE’S CHOICE
2011 Canberra Short Film Festival, Australia
BEST PRODUCTION
2011 In the Bin Short Film Festival, Australia
FESTIVAL GRAND PRIZE AND AUDIENCE’S FAVOURITE
2011 Blue Mountains Film Festival, Australia
THE ACADEMY FILM ARCHIVE | PICKFORD CENTER FOR MOTION PICTURE STUDY
OSCARS® | AMPAS® (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®), United States
SPECIAL COMMEMORATION SCREENINGS
2012 – 2015 ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day Commemorations, Turkey
SPECIAL COMMEMORATION SCREENING
2012 Bombing of Darwin Commemoration, Australia
SPECIAL JURY SCREENING
2010 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, Australia
OFFICIAL SELECTION
2014 BAFTA®-accredited Aesthetica Short Film Festival, United Kingdom
OFFICIAL SELECTION
2012 Academy Awards®-accredited Gijón International Film Festival, Spain
OFFICIAL SELECTION
2011 Academy Awards®-accredited Rhode Island International Film Festival, United States
OFFICIAL SELECTION
2011 Academy Awards®-accredited Palm Springs International ShortFest, United States
OFFICIAL SELECTION
2011 Academy Awards®-accredited Athens International Film Festival, United States
OFFICIAL SELECTION
2011 Academy Awards® and BAFTA®-accredited Flickerfest International Short Film Festival, Australia

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