This is a segment from a 1 hour documentary on one of the world’s largest charities–Knights of St. John Hospitaller of Malta. Founded around the time of the First Crusade, the Knights have survived over 900 years and are currently headquartered in Malta. They provide charitable help all over the world, but are little known in the U.S.
The Challenge: A small indie film studio had planned to make documentary of the Knights’ history and current work, but had hired a less experienced writer/director for the job. The results were not good. The complicated story was confusing, and the footage available was limited to a lot of scenic shots of rocks, the Mediterranean Sea and a bit of tourist footage. There was no money to re- shoot. The studio reached out to us for help.
I did quick research on the history of the Knights and their centuries-old opponents, the Muslim Empires. Within 2 weeks, a draft of a completely new script was sent to the client for approval, showing a sample first segment. A final draft was delivered two weeks later. It was vetted by Islamic and Catholic scholars, then the film editor, coordinating with my script and specific suggestions (since we didn’t have the footage we would have normally shot for the new script) began building a new show with existing footage.
The Result: The Knights of St. John is still the studio’s top selling video. Embraced by history buffs and the worldwide Catholic community of the Knights, the documentary had it’s debut broadcast on EWTN. As a bonus, I also scripted a popular travel documentary on Malta, using footage that didn’t make it into this project.
(If you are intrigued by medieval history or just the incredible history of the knights, you may want to watch the wonderful feature film, “The Kingdom of Heaven” with Orlando Bloom. It’s quite good historically and shows the real rivalry between the Knights and their contemporaries, The Knights Templar.)