Ambitious film crowdfunding launches to bring us first black footballer’s story

Black Flash is a planned feature film, written by Daniel Fajemisin Duncan, directed by Gabe and Ben Turner and produced by Leo Pearlman. Former footballer, turned TV / radio presenter and football pundit, Jason Roberts has just signed on as an Associate Producer of Black Flash. Jason has long been a key voice on the issue of racism in football and has a personal tie to the story – his uncle Cyrille Regis was a contemporary of Laurie Cunningham’s and he has grown up on stories from his uncle on both their footballing triumphs, as well as the appalling racism they and other black players faced at the time.

Black Flash is seeking to raise £3 million on CrowdBnk. If successful, this will be the largest UK film fundraise using crowdfunding to date.

The film will tell the story of Laurie Cunningham: a shy dreamer blessed with breath taking ability – who became an icon, if not a champion, and died tragically before his time. On the surface Laurie was exuberant; he loved to dance, wore loud fashionable clothes and played with a mesmerizing freedom and grace. Inside though he was quiet and complex and it is this dichotomy that will define his story.

The film is being produced by Roker37 Films, by the same team that has directed theatrically released films such as: In the Hands of the Gods, Piggy, One Direction 3D, JLS 3D, The Class of 92’ and many more. Roker37 has worked with distributors such as Sony, Lionsgate, New Line, Revolver and Columbia Pictures, while working with talent such as; Ben Drew, Paul Anderson, Neil Maskell, One Direction, Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, James Corden, David Beckham and Ophelia Lovibond.

Rapper turned actor Ashley Walters has expressed interest to play Laurie Cunningham and James Corden has been tapped to play Laurie’s former manager at West Bromwich Albion, Ron Atkinson. Anthony Mackie has also expressed interest in playing the lead. “Black Flash” is intended for theatrical release in cinemas worldwide before becoming available on DVD, VOD and TV. The aim and belief is that the film will achieve both critical and commercial success.

The project is being crowdfunded through CrowdBnk in order to reach a far-wider audience than a normal route-to-market, where traditionally only institutions and high net worth individuals get the opportunity to invest in film projects. Crowdfunding this film enables investors who are interested in film and passionate about eradicating racism in football the opportunity do so head on.

The company say that the majority of funds raised will be allocated to two main uses: (a) the production of the film and (b) the provision of production services to third parties with the rest of the funds, around 8 per cent being allocated to cover the expenses of the offer.