The story of peacemakers often goes untold, while the focus on war, conflict and politics takes the limelight. Unknown Ravens is the story of faith and pacifism through the lens of one family in rural Oxfordshire, who refused to consider any person their enemy. With exclusive access to previously unpublished prisoner of war images, Unknown Ravens brings a unique perspective on the Second World War.
Directed by Sema Basharanfor her MA final thesis project, this film was produced through the School of Film and Television at Falmouth University and is currently touring a variety of film festivals in 2019. This film follows the success of her first documentary production through Falmouth, which was successfully selected to several festivals in 2018 and won Best Student Film at the British Documentary Film Festival. Unknown Ravens sound design was completed by Claire from Porth Sound.
Willie Heider, a 17-year-old German machine gunner, is drafted into the army in 1942. During his two years as a soldier, he never shoots a man. His rejection of armed conflict, and subsequent capture by Allied forces, leads him on a journey that would change the course of his life.
Meanwhile, a family in Oxfordshire host numerous German and Italian prisoners of war on their farm. Like many from the Brethren Christian community, they are conscientious objectors. Their stand for peace and commitment to love their enemies causes them to be shunned by society in a time of patriotism and war-fever.
When Willie Heider arrives at the English family farm as a POW, he is welcomed with open arms, and experiences love and acceptance in the home of his foes. Meanwhile, as Britain begins to recover after the war, the devastation and poverty in Germany is far more severe. The Brethren family are moved to send aid to Germany out of their own rations, which sparks a glimmer of hope to a nation emerging out of the rubble.
With exclusive access to previously unpublished prisoner of war images, this oral history documentary brings a unique and challenging perspective on one of the most tragic events in human history.
Unknown Ravens sound design was completed by Porth Sound in the summer of 2018; working through stages of dialogue cleaning, sound effect editing and ambience building.
If you’re interested in collaborating with Claire on a similar project, please get in touch with us because she’d love to hear from you!