It’s a Scottish rags to riches tale – one of challenging norms, pushing boundaries and global ambition.
And now, the story of Jonnie Walker – the small-town grocer turned world’s biggest Scotch whisky brand – has been made into a feature documentary.
Directed by Academy Award-nominated and BAFTA award-winning director, Anthony Wonke, The Man Who Walked Around The World was screened in a world premiere last night by Edinburgh International Film Festival.
The independent film, created by Something Originals and produced by multi-award-winning production company Partizan, tells the Johnnie Walker story – exploring how, over two centuries, the brand navigated floods, flu pandemics and World Wars, while making a stand on racial and gender inequality along the way.
“This is the story of Johnnie Walker but it’s more than just a story about whisky, it’s about culture and the universal need to be able to look to the future with hope,” said Wonke, whose previous documentary subjects include Cristiano Ronaldo and Star Wars.
“That’s what makes it so powerful – it’s not a history lesson, it’s a story for where we are today and what we need to go forward.
“Sometimes as a film maker you come face-to-face with a story that is uniquely timeless and timely at the same time. If ever there was a need for a story of resilience and optimism and looking to the future with hope, it’s now. The Man Who Walked Around the World is that story.””
Among a vast roster of contributors is actor, activist and brand ambassador Sophia Bush.
“People don’t just want new products that impact their lives; they want brands that impact the world positively. Johnnie Walker has recognised that and continually acted on it through impactful campaigns and programs,” she said.
“They are prepared to tug at the arc of history and help push culture forward and I am deeply proud to have been on this journey with them in support of their gender equality efforts in particular.”
Bush is joined by the likes of Wu-Tang Clan’s Cappadonna, rock musician Zakk Wylde, 88rising’s Sean Miyashiro, advertising legend Sir John Hegarty and many more as the film explores the brand’s cultural impact from Myanmar to Brazil and from India to Iraq.
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