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Development   /  John Schindler

Operation Copper

The true story of how one very brave Australian soldier managed to survive alone against almost impossible odds.


Impact areas



  • DIRECTOR John Schindler

  • PRODUCER John Schindler



We intend to tell the story of a secret operation in the Pacific War code named Operation Copper. It was carried out by members of Z Special Unit. It was intended that the 8 volunteers would check out the Japanese defences on an island occupied by the enemy and if possible capture a Japanese officer for interrogation and see if there were guns on an island facing in the direction of the New Guinea mainland. Of the 8 commandos who landed only one escaped. We have a high quality interview with this survivor shot by way of 2 cameras in high definition format.

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0% funded
  • $50,000.00

  • $0.00

  • March 2021

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Why did 8 young Australian men choose to enter enemy territory towards the end of the Pacific War when they only thing that could be promised to them was a wooden cross? There was a mixture of reasoning but the main issue in this documentary is reveal what drove our interviewee to survive in what will be described as a truly hopeless predicament. The viewer will eventually understand that our survivor did not think it would be possible to come out of his situation alive and yet survive he did and against seemingly insurmountable odds.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

After watching this documentary viewers will realise that anyone can be thrust into the grotesque thing we know of as "war" Our lone survivor Mick is just like you and me indeed he makes you feel that way when he says things like "you would do the same mate" We will have achieved our aims if viewers will understand more of the obscene and futilie nature of war.


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

Z Special Unit will be a documentary that will make a point to the current and future generations of Australians and indeed other countries that there were many who stood up against evil and did not get the recognition they richly deserved. They were and will remain "unsung heroes" and many of them did not come home. The men of Z Special Unit did not seek recognition but their selfless deeds should be recognised. By detailing the deeds of a number of these men we intend to draw attention to the many others whose deeds have not and will probably never be known. Millions and men and women have been lost in wars and it is only by the telling of their individual stories accurately that we can illustrate the futility of war.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

By telling this story we illustrate the futility of war. This event took place in April 1945 which was towards the end of the Pacific War. 7 of the 8 young Australian men who embarked on this mission lost their lives and many young Japanese also.


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

ATOM (Australian Teachers of Media) are interested in acquiring this documentary to make available to teachers in educational institutions Nationally. Broadcast of the documentary through the FOXTEL History Channel in Australia and New Zealand initially with International release intended.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

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

We would like viewers to contemplate and have a better understanding of the futile and tragic nature of war.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

Success for us will be viewing of this documentary by the largest audience possible Nationally and Internationally.