Kajaki: The True Story is a 2014 British war docu-drama film directed by Paul Katis in his feature debut, written by Tom Williams, and produced by Katis and Andrew de Lotbiniere.
The plot is based on the true story of Mark Wright and of a small unit of British soldiers positioned near the Kajaki Dam, in Afghanistan.
It is also known Kajaki (original title), Kajaki: Kilo Two Bravo (Australian title), and Kilo Two Bravo (US and Canadian title).
Kajaki Dam 2006. A company of young British soldiers encounter an unexpected, terrifying enemy. A dried-out river bed, and under every step the possibility of an anti-personnel mine. A mine that could cost you your leg – or your life.
- David Elliot as Mark Wright.
- Mark Stanley as Tug.
- Scott Kyle as Stu Pearson.
- Benjamin O’Mahony as Stuart Hale.
- Bryan Parry as Jonesy.
- Liam Ainsworth as Ken Barlow.
- Ali Cook as Spud McMellon.
- Andy Gibbins as Smudge.
- Grant Kilburn as Alex Craig.
- John Doughty as Dave Prosser.
- Jon-Paul Bell as Luke Mauro.
- Malachi Kirby as Snoop.
- Paul Luebke as Jay Davis.
- Ryan W. Sadi as Kyle Minchew.
- Robert Mitchell as Faz
- Thomas Davison as Jarhead.
- Abe Dababneh as Kajaki Jon.
- Felipe Cabezas as Kajaki Mike.
- Hazem Alagha as Steven “Bombhead” Watson.
The film was shot on location at Al-Kafrein, Jordan, as a stand-in for Afghanistan.
Kajaki premiered on 12 November 2014 at London’s Vue Cinema in Leicester Square and was attended by cast, crew and veterans. The film was released in the United Kingdom on 28 November 2014 and in the United States on 13 November 2015.
The film received positive reviews from critics.
Kajaki grossed $7,891 in the US and Canada and $26,126 in other territories for a worldwide total of $34,017.
- Kajaki Damn, the place the cast and the real servicemen were positioned to protect, was important as a fourth turbine was due to be installed and bring power to most of the province, due to the danger of the area, and high enemy activity, this fourth turbine was never assembled.
- Fusilier Barlow’s nickname is “Ken”, despite his name being ‘Andy’.
- His nickname comes from the television soap opera, Coronation Street (1960), where there is a long-standing character called “Ken Barlow”.
- At the film’s first test screening, director Paul Katis was initially depressed as the audience traipsed out without saying a word.
- He thought that they did not like the film, when in fact they were traumatised by what they had just seen.
- ‘Bry Budd’ refers to ‘Bryan Budd’, a corporal in 3 PARA. As mentioned in the film, he was killed while on active service during Operation Herrick in Afghanistan.
- He was subsequently award the Victoria Cross.
- Much of the film was shot in temperatures exceeding 50 degrees.
- Partly funded by a crowdfunding campaign which yielded £47,000.
- Mark Wright, who was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his actions at Kajaki Dam, was a Freemason and a member of Lodge St. Clair 349 in Edinburgh.
- To honour him, and the rest of the men, a new Lodge named Lodge Kajaki was consecrated in April 2018 in Edinburgh.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Paukl Katis.
- Producer(s): Paul Katis and Andrew de Lotbiniere.
- Writer(s): Tom Williams.
- Cinematography: Chris Goodger.
- Editor(s): Brin.
- Production: Pukka Films.
- Distributor(s): Alchemy Releasing.
- Release Date: 12 November 2014 (London premiere) and 28 November 2014 (UK general release).
- Running Time: 108 minutes.
- Rating: R.
- Country: UK and Jordan.
- Language: English.