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The Ghost Army

World War II's Artists of Deception

February 2011 Update

Encouraging news to report on the Ghost Army film project.

Historymakers2011, a conference of history filmmakers and broadcasters held in NYC last week, offered an excellent opportunity to pitch The Ghost Army to many networks looking for history programming. The headline: There is definite interest in the film.  

I had several conversations with executives from a large European broadcaster that may make a co-production offer in the coming weeks. I  made contact with the appropriate decision-makers at a number of US Networks (including PBS) and put a rough cut of the film in their hands. Exploring as many options as possible, I have also applied for grant money from the Independent Television Service (ITVS) which provides funding for public television documentaries. It is a multi-phase process. In a few weeks we'll know if we made it past the first cut.  

Now let's cross our fingers, and see what happens! The goal is to put together the funding needed to finish the film in 2011, and to get it on TV--not just in the US, but worldwide.

Rough Cut

The version of the film being presented to networks is a revised rough cut that editor Jon Neuburger and I completed in October. Jon has edited films for PBS' American Experience, NOVA, and Frontline. The new cut is a shorter, more focused version of the film that takes into account some of the astute feedback that we got from people who watched it. It is generating a very positive response.


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The Ghost Army has garnered a great deal of media attention in the last year, not just in the US, but around the world. Articles appeared in Der Spiegel (Germany), The Daily Telegraph (Great Britain) Newsweek Polska (Poland), Nasha (Russia), Bakchich (France) and most recently, in the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal and Military Officer Magazine (USA). Find links to each article here.


Sad to say, four Ghost Army veterans I interviewed for the film passed away in 2010: Bob Conrad, Victor Dowd, Irving Stempel, and Al Albrecht. My condolences to their families and loved ones.
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In November, there was a special screening of the rough cut at the Zabocki VA Medical Center  in Milwaukee, where Al Albrecht was being treated for pancreatic cancer. Al got to watch the film, but died three weeks later. The Milwaukee Sentinel Journal did a nice article and online photo album

On the brighter side, a number of veterans I did not know have recently made contact.  I hope to learn more about their stories this year. In September I interviewed Ghost Army veteran Gil Seltzer, age 96, and still a practicing architect. He's the oldest living Ghost Army vet that I know--I'm interested to know if somebody can trump that!

Museum Exhibit

Work continues on the Ghost Army museum exhibit. Last month I met with Brian Horrigan, curator of the terrific Minnesota's Greatest Generation exhibit at the Minnesota History Center. He was brimming with ideas and potential contacts. Look for more on that in the coming months.

Thanks to everyone for your continuing support of the project. It has taken longer to make the film than it did to fight World War II, but I think we are finally getting close to realize our shared goal of telling this story the way it deserves to be told.

Rick Beyer