Dickie Attenborough gets help from Luton film makers

Website launched to raise funds for film legend's next project

A pair of Luton film makers have mounted a highly ambitious campaign to raise 40 million for an Oscar-winning legend's next movie.

Neil Fox and Justin Doherty, the men behind the town's annual Filmstock film festival, are hoping to gather cash for Richard "Dickie" Attenborough's multi-million pound dream movie.

A Gift For Dickie is a massive, and secretive, undertaking to kick start a project no one has so far been willing to fund.

The two Lutonians, who also run the production company Zero Balance, hope to raise enough money to help the octogenarian film actor and director, who knows nothing about the scheme, make a movie about eighteenth century intellectual revolutionary Thomas Paine.

Neil and Justin said they decided to launch the fundraiser after meeting the great man himself.

"We met Dickie at a regional press event in October, he talked in his press conference about the project, and it was our response to his resignation, and humility, that prompted us to do it," Neil said.

"That, and spending time just chatting about film, and Filmstock with him. He was so memorable, and passionate, and welcoming. He is a one off. The part about the Tom Paine project stayed with us, and we thought, 'it's crazy, but we should try this'."

Richard Attenborough has won a bag full of gongs as both an actor and a director, including best director Oscar for Gandhi (1982), but has struggled to find financing for his latest bio-pic.

Despite his reputation, his age, 85 this August, is against him and financial backers have not been so ready to invest.

But for Neil and Justin the difficulty facing one of the UK's most successful film makers was too much to ignore.

"This is a unique project, one that if successful, will be remembered for all time as a gesture, and as a democratic act beyond imagination," Neil said.

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