Award-winning director Anthony Wonke’s new feature documentary on Johnnie Walker serves up a measure of spirit for our times.

Last night, Edinburgh International Film Festival hosted an exclusive virtual global media event to launch award-winning director Anthony Wonke’s new feature documentary, The Man Who Walked Around the World, which features whisky brand Johnnie Walker. 

The independent film was created by Something™ Originals and is produced by multi award-winning production company Partizan, tells a story of positivity and resilience – 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.

Wonke, who attended last night’s event, said: “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. 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.”

The Academy Award-nominated, Emmy and BAFTA-winning director/producer, whose previous documentary subjects include Cristiano Ronaldo, Star Wars and AP McCoy, has spent a large part of his time in lockdown uncovering previously untold stories and perspectives on the way Johnnie Walker has constantly overcome adversity with optimism, cementing its place in culture as a global icon.

Among the contributors is actor, activist and brand ambassador Sophia Bush. Ms Bush said: “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. 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 brand’s cultural impact is demonstrated from Myanmar to Brazil, from India to Iraq.

“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.”
– Anthony Wonke

Something™ Originals Managing Partner Andy Hewitt commented: “Imagining, filming and editing this documentary in the context of a global pandemic, with all of the tensions that this year has brought to the surface, gives this story a profound contemporary relevance that I don’t think anybody could have fully appreciated when we first came up with the idea for the documentary. We couldn’t be prouder of the finished product.”

Diageo Global Scotch Director John Williams added: “Our story is one we’re immensely proud of. We stand for something in Johnnie Walker and that something is progress – we’re always looking to move forward, to make the next day better than the one before. Over two centuries we’ve learned that progress needs resilience and optimism, those are the ideals that lie behind our Keep Walking philosophy and I can’t imagine a time when that philosophy could be any more relevant.”

The full film will be broadcast globally on Discovery’s portfolio of brands and services from 12 November 2020 and available to view in the UK here