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D-Day: Down to Earth—Return of the 507th

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About the Film

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How did you first learn of the 507th and develop the idea for the film?
David: In 2002, the son-in-law of a World War II veteran approached me about a possible trip to France. He indicated that his father-in-law, along with 50 fellow members of the 507th Parachute Infantry, were returning to Normandy to dedicate a D-Day memorial in honor of the regiment. He wanted to create a short keepsake film for the veterans and their families.

Of course, I accepted the offer immediately. What filmmaker in his right mind wouldn't? I began to research the paratrooper experience. My producing background comes from a shooter and editor's perspective, so I tend to approach things visually. As I dove into researching the 507th story, I focused most of my energy on the Internet and uncovered many short articles, interviews and pictures related to paratroopers and the war. There was a mountain of material about the war online, yet the story of the 507th seemed relatively undocumented. This fact— combined with the knowledge that these veterans, most of them now in their 80s, had somehow put forth the energy to build a monument in France and were traveling there for the dedication—led me to believe that this particular war story was unique and could be of interest to the general public.

My plan going into the trip, weighing time and budget, was to capture the trip's events in the classic single camera run-and-gun style, do some brief on-site interviews with veterans, and then create a short highlights piece about the regiment and their return to Normandy. This brief piece would serve to give my sponsor a highlights recap of the memorial trip for the veterans and their families, and at the same time, provide a promotional tool to pitch an expanded version of the story to a broadcast outlet.