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Guest Viewpoints

The Marbles: An Invitation to Join a Great Cause

April 3, 2024
By David Nicholas Wilkinson

“David, they’re not the ‘Elgin’ Marbles. Lord Elgin stole them. They shouldn’t be named after him.” Alkis Kritikos, an actor I was working with in 1974, told me this in no uncertain terms when I had called them by the name all British people had used at the time. I was absolutely shocked. Was it possible that my country could actually uphold a lie told by Lord Elgin over 200 years ago, that he had ‘legally’ acquired these priceless sculptures, when closer examination showed that this was very far from the truth? And this, despite the Greek government requesting and being denied their return ever since. That indignant thought has never stopped nagging away in my mind.

I make feature documentary films to be shown in movie theatres and then on streaming platforms and television so they can be seen worldwide by the widest possible audience.

My latest film, ‘Getting Away with Murder(s), which highlighted the general lack of real justice following the vast crimes committed during the Second World War, was included in The Guardian’s List of the 50 Best Films of the Year in the U.S. and the UK, and their Highest Rated Documentary of the Year, even beating the Oscar-winning ‘Summer of Soul’.

Following its brilliant reception by critics internationally, it wasn’t hard for me to choose the subject for my next film. It was time to try to rectify a great wrong. I started filming ‘The Marbles’ on March 25, 2021.

As well as interviews with experts from across many fields, I’ve also secured very well-informed contributions from leading academics and lawyers, as well as well-known actors from Hollywood and Britain, such as Brian Cox (‘Succession’), Bill Nighy (‘Love Actually’), Simon Callow (‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’), Stockard Channing (‘The West Wing’) and Dame Janet Suzman, who is chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles and has spent over 40 years fighting for their return ever since she was passed the baton to carry on the fight by Melina Mercouri.

I have now more or less filmed everything we need to cover in the UK and, later this year, we will be filming the USA, France, Germany and, of course, Greece. Then there is the post-production and all things being equal I would like the film to be finished early next year.

Normally, documentary film budgets are majority funded by British broadcasters. However, to qualify for this, British broadcasting law requires that the subject be treated in a balanced way. Since I am 100% behind the claim that the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece and am not remotely prepared to even consider the idea that Britain has any right to these treasures whatsoever, I have had to rule out funding from this normal source.

In order to finish the film, therefore, the only option for funding open to me is to raise money directly, whether small or large, from as many other like-minded people who agree with the idea behind this movie – to raise the world’s awareness to the injustice to Greece that their magnificent ancient marbles being unreasonably held in a foreign museum in Britain when justice demands they be returned to Athens and the land of their creation. Such funding will allow me to complete the film in time to place it into movie theatres in 2025.

Films with important things to say have far more importance than simply making money, especially when inviting the world to right a great wrong is its goal.

Filmmaker David Nicholas Wilkinson is working on completing his documentary film ‘The Marbles’, which started filming on March 25, 2021, the day Greece celebrated its 200th year of freedom.

The National Hellenic Society is supporting the film and encourages everyone to join in and “help set them free” by making a donation online:

https://www.nationalhellenicsociety.org/donate.

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