Parents of war hero hail Bafta nomination

David Elliot as Mark Wright in Kajaki. Picture: contributed
David Elliot as Mark Wright in Kajaki. Picture: contributed
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THE family of a war hero killed trying to save a comrade from a field of landmines in Afghanistan has spoken of its pride after a film immortalising his sacrifice was nominated for a Bafta.

Kajaki tells the story of Corporal Mark Wright’s courageous last actions in Helmand province and has been nominated in the Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer category.

Cpl Wright was awarded a posthumous George Cross – one of the UK’s highest honours.

His father, Bob, 68, from Dalkeith, welcomed the Bafta nomination, describing the film as “powerful” and important.

“The film lets the public know what the armed services are going through, especially the army, in their day-to-day lives and I’m glad it’s getting this recognition,” he said.

“They have got it down to a fine art, and it’s as real as it could be. Being nominated is fantastic and whether or not it wins, at least [Mark’s] name has been put out and his sacrifice immortalised.”

He added: “I watch black and white war films and in years to come people will probably be watching this film and his name will live on through that.

“That makes me very proud and I know [his mother] Jem is proud, too.”

Cpl Wright, right, died in September 2006 fighting the Taliban near the Kajaki Dam.

The 27-year-old took command when two paratroopers were blown up by mines, and sent a radio request for help. The Chinook helicopter sent to rescue them exploded mines as it tried to land, inflicting fatal injuries on Cpl Wright and wounding others.

Shot in Jordan last year, Kajaki went on general release last November – coinciding with the withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan.

Director Paul Katis said his motivation had been to create a film that captured the realities of the war zone.

He said: “To get to this stage and to be nominated is enough, anything else would be a delight but we won’t be disappointed if we don’t win.

“The critical response has been fantastic. But we always set ourselves the task of doing the guys who were involved justice. The goals we set ourselves were getting it right and showing what goes on.”

The film is pitted against Northern Soul – about two boys who discover a new genre of music – and ’71 which tells how a British soldier became separated from his unit during the troubles in Belfast.

Also in the running is Lilting – about a mother’s quest to find out more about her dead son – and Pride, which tells the story of a group of lesbians and gays who form an unlikely alliance with striking miners.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com