"The Saints of War" will be produced and directed by Canadian-born filmmaker Ryan Little. Little will also be the director of photography. Ryan Little, a graduate from Brigham Young University film school, has directed multiple award-winning short films, including the World War II film "The Last Good War" (1999) and "Freedom on the Water" (2002). Little has directed one feature film: "Out of Step" (2002), a romantic drama about a Latter-day Saint student in New York City. Little also served as the Director of Photography for two Latter-day Saint-themed feature comedies: "The Singles Ward (2002) and "The R.M." (2003), both directed by Kurt Hale.
The other producer for "Saints of War" will be Adam Abel, a graduate of Brigham Young University. The associate producer will be Brian Brough, who has previously worked as an assistant director for the Latter-day Saint-themed feature films "Brigham City" and "Out of Step." The executive producer is Charles Chan.
By the time the movie's website went up, it had already been cast. Principle photography is scheduled to begin on January 22, 2003.
With the release of "Out of Step" (which was produced by Cary Derbidge), Little became the fourth director to release a movie in the modern LDS cinema genre, following Richard Dutcher, Mitch Davis and Kurt Hale. With the release of "The Saints of War," Little will become the third director (after Dutcher and Hale) to release a second Latter-day Saint-themed feature film.
"The Saints of War" will be the first LDS-themed feature film to also be a "war film." It will also be the first movie in the genre set in Europe. This will be the second film in the LDS cinema genre (after "The Other Side of Heaven") to be inspired by a non-fiction book. It will be the third film in the genre (after "The Other Side of Heaven" and "Handcart") set in a historical time period.
The homepage for "The Saints of War" (http://www.thesaintsofwar.com) features a solid dark gray background with a thick band of black near the top. A photograph shows a close-up of two American soldiers from World War II. Both are wearing helmuts. The close-up is so tight that for one soldier, only his eyes can be seen. A simple logo in red lettering reads:
On the right side of the photo graphic appear the words "ENTER SITE." A small logo at the bottom right-hand corner of the photo indicates that the site requires the Macromedia Flash player.
Upon clicking the "ENTER SIDE" link, a popup window opens with the website's main Flash file. The homepage of this section once again features the photo showing the faces of the two American soldiers. The logo for "THE SAINTS OF WAR" is at top. Beneath the photo, also in red, are the words "A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE." Below that, in white lettering against the black background, are the words "IN THEATRES FALL 2003."
A horizonal menu bar at the bottom of this home page provides the following options:
The Saints of War is an action packed story based on the horrifying historical event known as the "Malmedy Massacre."
In mid-December 1944 Hitler's Army blitzkriegs through the Ardennes Forest into Belgium creating the colossal wintertime offensive known as the Battle of the Bulge. Sergeant Daniel Epstein and close friend Nathan Greer find themselves held captive with over seventy other American Soldiers in a snow covered field. Without warning German soldiers open fire on the American Prisoners. Epstein, Greer and a handful of other soldiers are able to escape the massacre by hiding in the nearby woods. Without weapons or food they take on the unforgiving winter trying to find their way back to allied occupied territory.
To the right of this synopsis is a picture of the non-fiction book SAINTS AT WAR, which was written by Robert C. Freeman and Dennis A. Wright and published by Covenant Communictions in 2001. Clicking on the picture of the book opens a browser window viewing the book's web page on the website of its publisher, Covenant Communications: http://www.covenant-lds.com/osb2/itemdetails.cfm?ID=49
Here is the description of Saints at War from the Covenant website:
Saints at War
Experiences of Latter-day Saints in World War II
Written and compiled by Robert C. Freeman and Dennis A. Wright
Saints at War combines over 200 remarkable stories-from Church leaders and veterans around the world-with hundreds of images that capture the essence of faith in the midst of war. Includes accounts from Thomas S. Monson, James E. Faust, Boyd K. Pcker, David B. Haight, Neal A. Maxwell, and others.
Sixty years ago, while in the prime of their youth, thousands of young Latter-day Saints humbly stepped forward, prepared to sacrifice their lives so that the nightmare of tyranny might end.
The Second World War brought untold horrors, degradation, and the tragic loss of life. Without thought of praise, and saying that they were "just doing their duty," these stalwart members of the Church returned home to begin the quiet work of earning a living, raising their families, serving in the Church, and retiring to enjoy missions and their grandchildren. While ordinary in many ways, their faith, service, and sacrifice changed the face of the world . . . and influenced the next generations in profound ways.
Through the pages of this remarkable book you'll meet people like Victor B. Cline, an infantryman who was miraculously preserved on several occasions and attributed his good fortune to prayer, paying an honest tithing, and "following fairly near the straight and narrow." You'll read about Neal A. Maxwell, who, while in a foxhole, used a C-ration biscuit and rainwater for sacrament and stated, "That proves it is not the ingredients, but the Spirit." And you'll meet Reed Jordan, who wrote the press release letting the world know that Germany had unconditionally surrendered.
These are the scoutmasters, the choristers, the bishops, and the home teachers-ward members who went about their daily work with the same diligence and passion that defined their generation.
Text above the picture of the book cover reads, "Inspired by the book, SAINTS AT WAR.
Text for this section is coming soon . . . thank you for your patience!
[The sub-pages of the site all feature a moving row of photographs or stills from a movie, all depicting scenes of soldiers in battle in a snow-covered European forest.]
Thanks to all the reenactors who were so willing to die for the website!
Germans: Tom O'Brien, Lance Jensen, Paul Dixon and Robert Noble.
G.I.'s: Chris Miler, Timothy Brownrigg, Matt Jarman and Chris Allen.
[These are the names of the "soldiers" shown in the many photographs on the site. Apparently these images are NOT simply taken from Ryan Little's short film "The Last Good War." Only one name from those listed as being on this website (Chris Allen) matches any of the names of cast and people playin soldiers in "The Last Good War": Christopher D. Allen.]
* If you are interestedin attending, please email Tom O'Brien at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your interest, patronage, and help to make American Patrol Company and our products "The Finest In The Field". Please contact us about our ever-expanding product line.
Raymond S. Meldrum [Owner, American Patrol Company]
West Jordan, Utah 84084
Rolf's Custom Crate and Reproductions
Rubber bayonets and an assortment of WWII German Crates and crate hardware.
[design by Andrew J. Allgaier, who has an associates degree in graphic design from the University of Southern California (UVSC), 2001]
WWII Reenactors are Needed for Extras!
We are looking to take authenticity to new heights in a WWII theatrically released film. We know the best way to do this is through historical re-enactors. All those re-enactors who wish to participate and have proper uniforms are welcome to attend the filming as extras. In order to make things more enjoyable, we are holding a massive tactical battle after the filming.
Filming for scenes where re-enactors are needed will be February 12th through the 14th. There will be a tactical battle on Saturday (2/15) or Sunday (2/16). The re-enactment will take place on the set of the film using all the armored vehicles and props.
All GI regular troops are welcome to attend as well as all Heer and SS troops. At this time there is no place for Fallschirmjager impressions in the script, but you are welcome to attend the battle. If you are interested in participating in the film please contact Tom O'Brien (email@example.com). Please send a description of your impression. Due to pyrotechnics, vehicles and othe rsafety issues we will have a closed set. You will be required to register before and check in at the gate. Only those who have properly registered will be allowed to enter. Housing and on-the-set food will be provided free of charge. If you cannot attend the film shoot, then please feel free to attend the tactical battle; however, a small fee will be charged: around 10 dollars. Those whohave vehicles and are interested in using them in the film should contact Raymond Meldrum (WWiivehicles@thesaintsofwar.com).