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Post-production   /  Gabriel Shipton


The campaign to free Julian Assange takes on intimate dimensions in this portrait of an old man’s fight to save his son.


Impact areas



  • DIRECTOR Ben Lawrence

  • PRODUCER Gabriel Shipton



Filmed over two years across the UK, Europe and the US, this documentary follows 76 year-old retired builder, John Shipton’s tireless campaign to save his son, Julian Assange.
The world’s most famous political prisoner, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has become an emblem of an international arm wrestle over freedom of journalism, government corruption and unpunished war crimes.
Now with Julian facing a 175 year sentence if extradited to the US, his family members are confronting the prospect of losing Julian forever to the abyss of the US justice system.
This David-and-Goliath struggle is personal – and, with Julian’s health declining in a British maximum-security prison and American government prosecutors attempting to extradite him to face trial in the US , the clock is ticking.
Weaving historic archive and intimate behind-the-scenes footage, this story tracks John’s journey alongside Julian’s fiancee, Stella Moris as they join forces to advocate for Julian. We witness John embark on a European odyssey to rally a global network of supporters, advocate to politicians and cautiously step into the media’s glare - where he is forced to confront events that made Julian a global flashpoint.

Ithaka provides a timely reminder of the global issues at stake in this case, as well as an insight into the personal toll inflicted by the arduous, often lonely task of fighting for a cause bigger than oneself.

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92.14% funded
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  • $92,143.86

  • 138

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

In a hyper-partisan age, where truth is the victim of political convenience, transparency and freedom to communicate are fought for by the millimetre. ‘Ithaka’ is about our right to know what is being done in our names.

By following a family at the heart of the largest press freedom case this century, 'Ithaka' will bring you on an unforgettable behind-the-scenes journey that will leave you questioning what you thought you knew about the world we inhabit today.

'Ithaka' will show the lengths the richest and most powerful nations in the history of the world will go to to hide their crimes. 'Ithaka' will hit the heart of how press freedoms and our right to communicate is being slowly degraded before our very eyes.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

By raising awareness of what is at stake if Julian’s prosecution continues, the film's impact aims to restore the ability of journalists and commentators to report on National Security issues, protect the internet as place for the exchange of ideas and information that is crucial to the functioning of an informed democratic society.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

- Encourage people to exercise their democratic rights advocating for causes they believe in.
- Help the Audience to understand what is at stake in Julian Assange's case


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

John and Stella, our two lead characters will engage our audience and keep them in their seats. Through John and Stellas interactions with global figures, the media, politicians, the UK legal system, people on the streets and high-profile supporters the audience will witness about what is at stake in the Julian Assange case and why they should care.

Our method of distribution will also be key in achieving the outcome, partnering with local festivals, launching off-court proceedings and associated media, Q&A’s with the protagonists and intellectuals will all support ‘Ithaka’ in achieving its outcomes.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Fritt Ord, a Norwegian freedom of expression foundation, has partnered with us. Their ideals are cornerstone issues of the film.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

While Julian remains in detention, our hope is that viewers will ask their local representatives to take concerted action to defend their free press rights and Julians human rights, raise their voice against smear campaigns in the media, educate their neighbours, friends and coworkers, and join the world wide campaign in Julian's defense.

Julian is also an enduring symbol. In this sense, we hope that viewers take action to support the ideals that Julian has come to represent, and to take a stand against the injustices he has exposed through WikiLeaks, and those he is up against himself.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

- Change in media narrative.
- Political action groups gaining more members.
- Politicians joining support Assange group to encourage press freedoms
- Increase in media coverage
- War criminals are put on trial