Apr. 2003
Goldi Productions Ltd.


"Outrageous!!! (Worldfest President J. Hunter Todd)

"The Great Anglo-Boer War: The Canadian Experience"
Breaking News: Joan Goldi's "Canadian Boer War Show," the "Most Honoured Program" at the 36th Worldfest Houston International Film and Television Awards, where some 1,200 leading producers from around the world (over 40 countries) submitted over 4,500 entries in competition.
Oh Canada!
Feedback: # 41: Toronto, ON - "I thought your show was just terrific, just a gorgeous show! So much information so well presented. I just have to see it again. Just a fabulous show!"
Wrote Worldfest Houston President J. Hunter Todd:

"Congratulations! We are delighted to report that "The Great Anglo-Boer War" in it's various incantations, was awarded the coveted GOLD SPECIAL JURY REMI AWARD for "Creative Excellence," TWICE, in the "Best Television Series" category, and in the "Best History & Archaeology Program" category. This is the highest award our festival offers. (left)

"You also got GOLD REMIS in the "Best News & Documentary Writing" category and in the "Best On-Camera Talent" for John Goldi. Outrageous! 4 GOLD REMIS!!!.... Very well done. The Jury really loved your Boer War programs."

Best Television & Cable Documentary Series: We are pleased that our "cable budget" series, "The Great Anglo-Boer War: The Canadian Experience," was judged the "Best Television and Cable Production Documentary Series" at Worldfest Houston - the world's largest film and television festival - in competition with entries from the best Broadcasters and Producers from around the world.

We believe the jury was impressed by the many innovative techniques we used to bring this Canadian story to life.

Innovation: Location, Location, Location...

We set out to do an unprecedented amount of location shooting in order to bring the program to life for viewers, visiting hundreds of sites, driving 11,000 kms during a two month shoot, and finally using major set-ups at 83 clearly identified historic locations, probably the most ever in a history documentary.

Right, historian Johan Hattingh points to the spot where the fleeing Boer wagons were crossing the Modder River when the British artillery exploded among them beginning the ten day Battle of Paardeberg. The battle would make Canada famous around the world.

Feedback: #54: Mississauga, ON - "It's just a stunning production! I watched all four shows. A really excellent production!"

BBC Move Over!
Feedback: #55: Toronto, ON - "First class! As a Brit - and a history buff - let me just say that it's as good as anything the BBC has ever done, and no doubt done with far fewer resources than the British national broadcaster has available."
Best Film & Video Production History & Archaeology Documentary Program: We are especially pleased that one of our "economy budget" series programs, "The Great Adventure," Part 1 from "The Great Anglo-Boer War: The Canadian Experience" also won the "Best History & Archaeology Film and Video Production" in competition with the best mega budget "one-of" television specials by leading Producers and Broadcasters from around the world.

To be honoured for "Best Television Documentary Series" in international competition, is a dream rarely ever achieved; to win, at the same time, "Best History & Archaeology Documentary" with a "series" program from the same string is the strongest possible affirmation of the care we take to make sure that each of our series programs is as good as if it were a "one-of" special. We are immensely gratified that our decision to use an innovative approach for telling this story has been so richly rewarded by a jury who judged our work against submissions from all over the world.

That this was done by a small Canadian production company, making a low-budget documentary series about Canadian people, places, and events, is a special source of pride for the creative partners of this program, Joan Goldi and John Goldi csc, who also did all the "hands on" craft work.

Innovation: Artistic, multi-level, informational slates, in colour - that move...

To improve television communication, and arouse viewer interest, we designed vastly improved chapter titles. We created 43 different slates, like the one left, that introduces the section dealing with the Boer invasions of British Cape Colony, in Oct. 1899, leading to the sieges of three British towns. Col. Robert Baden-Powell became world-famous for holding out in Mafeking for seven months, until rescued by Canadian guns.

His rare 9" high antique parian bust, which we sleuthed out in a Toronto auction, rotates, elevating these slates from being merely static slides to "motion pictures." To embellish the slate and the theme for the coming section, the sound track plays the "Alarm" bugle call. Instead of being uncommunicative "stills," these slates are designed to arouse curiosity and re-focus renewed viewer interest for the up-coming segment.

Feedback: #9: Etobicoke, ON - "Bravo! Interesting, informative, and artfully presented."

Feedback: #8: Mississauga, ON - "Episode II is great. The quantum of information and knowledge is exceptional. The story flow is so smooth that it makes us feel like we're living through the Boer War time. "
Gold Medal Writing: We are pleased that the jury awarded Joan Goldi & John Goldi, the Gold Medal for "News and Documentary Writing," for "To the Bitter End," Part 4 of "The Great Anglo-Boer War: The Canadian Experience." It is the fourth international award the duo has received for their writing for the series.

Innovation: Women featured as coequal to male experts in a war documentary

1) We feature far more women experts on war than one finds in other war documentaries which have been universally regarded as the preserve of "male" experts; rarely a single woman expert is used, and then only given screen time when "female" related issues are raised. Our numerous women experts are treated as coequal to men, and can pop up anytime during a program and offer views on a whole raft of non-female related war issues.

2) We also feature far more "voices of the enemy" than is usually found in history documentaries. 3) We set out to avoid making a "patriotic" type of history documentary by focusing our writing on war as a human tragedy for all the sides involved.

Right, historian Sannette Greyvenstein on location at the Boer War Woman's Memorial delivers straight into the camera lens - our favourite technique with experts - the story of British human rights activist Emily Hobhouse who bucked the tide of British war fever in her own country to fight for Boer women and children dying by the thousands in British concentration camps. Her courageous clamour saved thousands of Boer lives. As a mark of their undying respect for this British lady the Boers buried her ashes - Sannette points out the vault at the foot of their sacred Woman's Memorial - beside those of their three top national heroes.

Feedback: #77: Pincher Creek, AB - "I really enjoyed your video series. I only managed to catch two episodes but boy did I enjoy them. Even my wife, who has absolutely no interest in military history, enjoyed them."

On Gobbledegook!
Feedback: #3: Toronto, ON - "I thought it was terrific. How it was put together. Lots of these other documentaries have far too much gobbledegook, too much stuff that means nothing in the narration. The way you tell the story is great. I never buy this stuff off TV, but I said I gotta have this show. How do I get it?"
Gold Medal Hosting: We are pleased that the jury awarded Canadian historian John Goldi the Gold Medal in "Individual On-camera Talent" for his 27 Boer War battlefield "performances" during "The Great Anglo-Boer War: The Canadian Experience." He came out from behind the camera for the first time in his career to help bring the story to life for viewers. His Gold Medal was won in a competition featuring professional celebrity hosts, including Mary Hart, long-time anchor of Entertainment Tonight.

Innovations: Experts as hosts, on location...

Boer War director John Goldi set out to improve how experts are usually used in history documentaries:

1) He included an unprecedented number of contributions from "experts on location" in a history documentary: 15 expert/hosts giving 104 presentations at 83 different actual historic locations.

2) All experts give "performances," not interviews.

3) All deliver straight to the camera - the audience.

4) This results in a gripping "multi-host" technique as a succession of men and women experts guide the viewer through real historic events at the places they actually happened.

Above, historian John Goldi explains - by the blocks where the British guns stood at Colenso - how amidst a fire storm of lead that swept this place, brave British soldiers won 7 Victoria Crosses.

Left, at a remote ruin, historian Pieter de Jaeger points to a sad relic of war from a century ago, as he passionately describes the scene that took place here, as British soldiers evicted weeping Boer women and children, before blowing up and burning their family home and its possessions.

To get experts on the locations he wanted, John Goldi drove some hundreds of kilometers. Below Susan Botha shows and explains the various relics of war found at her farm, John Snyman explains, on the spot, how British General Woodgate was shot during the disaster on top of remote Spion Kop, and historian Pam MacFadden explains how General Penn Symons fell - by the memorial cairn, from shots fired from the top of Talana Hill behind her - during the opening battle of the Boer War.

All experts rose magnificently to the cajoling of director/cameraman John Goldi, and "performed" enthusiastically, straight to the lens - the audience.

Canadian Museum
Feedback: #55: Calgary, AB - "It is truly a wonderful production! I am personally convinced that it will be assessed as one of the decade's great television documentaries." George Milne, Museum of the Regiments, Calgary, AB"
The Most Honoured Program: With its astonishing haul of four Gold Awards, "The Great Anglo-Boer War: The Canadian Experience" is the most honoured program at Worldfest, winning more awards than any other entry (of 4,500 sent in) during the competition, which featured submissions from leading producers from over 40 countries (National Geographic, Florentine (Ken Burns) Films, PBS - WGBH, WNET, The History Channel, Grey Worldwide, Discovery USA, Turner Television, Carlton TV, German TV, Netherlands TV, Irish TV, David Grubin, etc. ) as well as from Canada (National Film Board, History Television, Lank-Beach, Astral Media, Exploration Productions, Corus, Barna-Alper, Cinenova, CTV, etc.)

We are pleased that our "Boer War low budget series" programs have won major program or craft awards at every festival they have been entered, in competition with the best mega budget "one-of" entries from the biggest producers and broadcasters from around the world.

The program awards - all won in international competition at American television festivals - include: five for documentary writing, seven for program excellence, and five Finalists for medals.

The Team:

Oh Canada!
Feedback: #5: Oakville: -
"I must say your narrator is absolutely first rate! Who is he anyway?"

Simply the Best: International Gold for Linden MacIntyre - Though we used many voices of enthusiastic experts and fine actors on our program, the standout anchoring voice for our sound track was kindly provided by Linden MacIntyre - of CBCs Fifth Estate. For the second time in our careers he agreed to narrate a major production for us; his first narration graces our most internationally honoured film. His authoritative, yet heartfelt narration provided the critical linkage that made our programs flow so bewitchingly smoothly. His quietly commanding narrative style, involves viewers who get the strong feeling that this is a story that matters - a lot.

Without his sensitive and engaging delivery "The Great Anglo-Boer War: The Canadian Experience" would have been a lesser show, the anecdotes less interesting, the drama less pointed, and the pathos less gripping.

We will always be eternally grateful that Linden fulfilled our fondest wish by agreeing to narrate a program into which we had poured so much of our passion, our money, and our lives. He made a "good" program sound "great - very great."

Made In Canada: Joan Goldi and John Goldi csc, did the craft work on all the programs. They did all the research (memorabilia, books, experts), and writing, were the entire shooting crew (locations and archivals), and did all the off and online picture, sound, music, and FX editing.

We are pleased to note, that Joan Goldi won more awards for Canada specific documentary productions, than any other producer who submitted programs to Worldfest.

We are proud to have created History Television's most honoured program at Worldfest, and to have - as Canadians - set such an "outrageous" benchmark for excellence in international competition: Four Golds - best TV series, best history program, and two Gold craft awards - all for the same show. And all with programs that feature the people, places, & events of Canadian history, part of our life-long passion of


Permanent Historical Markers
Paardeberg - A Future Canadian Historic Marker Site: Canadian historian John Goldi stands at the unmarked site, in the shadow of Paardeberg Hill in the background, where, on "Bloody Sunday," Feb. 18, 1900, 21 Canadians died in a wild charge on the Boer trenches. It was Canada's worst military disaster in almost a hundred years and has remained unmarked for over 100 years..
A Canadian History Legacy:

Showing his Gold Medal winning-style, Canadian historian John Goldi recreates a fateful scene from Canadian history at a site which has no markers to show that Canadians fought and died on this spot.

We are pleased that the Canadian Government's Historic Sites and Monuments Board has accepted our proposal to start the process towards setting up large bronze plaques to commemorate the people, places, and events which we featured in our documentary, as Canadian Historic Sites. They will become the first Canadian sites so honoured on the African Continent.

We are pleased that, long after this Canadian history television series, and its accompanying web site, will have passed from view, the Canadian Boer War Project - which we launched in 1999 to put Canadians "In Touch With" a little known part of their national and international history - will have left permanent educational markers on the ground in South Africa to identify the Great Canadian Historic Sites associated with "The Great Anglo-Boer War: The Canadian Experience."

Boer War Museum: The television series was accompanied by the internationally acclaimed "The Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum" web site, (See Feedback) which is the most lavish educational web site ever created to accompany a television documentary program. (See Museum).

Oh Say Can You See!
Feedback: # 34: Little Ferry, NJ, USA - "I'm a Civil War reenactor. I just had to call to say what an amazingly terrific site you have. I've never seen anything so nicely done - and I've seen a lot!.... Please send me a set of your programs. I haven't seen them yet, but they've got to be good!"

Canada Millennium Project: Our initiative was one of the rare television projects selected by the Government of Canada as a Millennium Partnership Program. (See: The Project).

Innovation: We created an innovative television program that departed in numerous ways from the way that conventional history documentaries have generally been made. (See Innovations).

America the Beautiful!
Feedback: #70: New York, NY, USA - "Superb job! Just a quick line of thanks for the job you did on the Boer War Videos. Poignant ..but not maudlin. Loved the on-site shots and "local experts". The sunrise opening and close with "Last Post" are very evocative. I showed these to several of my friends who were marginally interested in the war. They are now devouring my books related to it. Thanks again for the super job."

Goldi Productions Ltd.



Proud Home of - The Canadian Anglo-Boer War Museum &

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000