Normandy Stories I The Girl Who Wore Freedom
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“We were depending on considerable assistance from the insurrectionists in France. Throughout France the Free French had been of inestimable value in the campaign.
Without their great assistance the liberation of France and the defeat of the enemy in Western Europe would have consumed a much longer time and meant greater losses to ourselves.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Sainte Marie du Mont, Normandy, France 1939
A World at war. A country in conflict. A town under siege. In France, as in most of occupied Europe, civil liberties and free speech have been crushed under the Third Reich. Though tragic and horrific, this story is one of the most often told stories of our time.
Many American WWII documentaries cover the stories of the soldiers, the battle plans and the losses. However, very few, if any, talk about WWII from the perspective of the French. We know very little about them, who they were or what they endured. This documentary aims to change that. We follow the stories of civilians who lived through this time, now in their 80’s and 90’s, as well as their children and grandchildren. We cover the love affair the French have with their American liberators that was born in 1944, continues to this day and is passed down from generation to generation.
Why Must This Story Be Told?
Almost as tragic as the lives lost to pay for this freedom is the collective memory loss in the United States about those memories. The people of Normandy still remember and appreciate to this day the sacrifices that were made, and celebrate these memories annually. As we have seen, when Americans experience this kind of love, they are touched by it. This should not fade into a one-sided love story. We cannot let the stories of the grateful French citizens fade silently into history.
The 75th Anniversary of D-Day is one year away and we want to have this ready to share with the French as our love gift to them. We believe the time has come for Americans to thank the French for how they have loved and honored our WWII Veterans and their families. This film will serve this purpose. Did you know that school children all throughout France raise money to pay for Veterans to return to Normandy so they can thank them? Neither did we! We must tell these stories! The French who still remember the oppressive days of occupation and the elation of their liberation are not getting any younger and neither are the WWII Veterans. We must act NOW to capture their stories before it’s too late!
How Will This Story Be Told?
Our story begins in Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. We follow soldiers from the 101st Airborne as they join other units from the United States Army in Normandy, France to participate in the 74th annual D-Day commemorations. We watch the young soldiers from Ft. Campbell as they are visibly moved meeting with Normans, like Dany Patrix Boucherie, who survived the German occupation and experienced the freedom of the Allied liberation, and meeting the WWII veterans who liberated Normandy. We learn, along with these soldiers, new things about WWII from the French perspective. We watch them put fingers in bullet-holed walls and pass by blood stained pews. We see the love of the French toward Americans as they are stopped to pose for photos and sign autographs, and as they are cheered as they march in parades. We witness reenactments of historical events performed by the French and hear the French tell personal stories of the occupation and liberation.
How Will This Look?
This docu-drama will implement re-enactments to complement the heroic stories of the survivors and veterans of the occupation and the time leading up to the invasion and liberation of Normandy. The visuals of the interviews will consist of dramatic backdrops, as in the interviews in HBO’s “Band of Brothers”, museum locations, homes and on-location scenes consisting of beaches, battle locations and memorials. The decision will be based on the context of the interviews. To bring honor and respect to this story, the best production equipment will be used. Our team will document the imagery utilizing:
3 Camera and Audio Teams, 3 Sony 4K CineAlta Cinema Cameras, Aerial Drone Footage, Carl Zeiss Cinema Lenses, GoPro or Action Cameras for parachute jumps, Professional Audio Equipment, Original Music Scoring, and Dramatic Color Grading and Correction.
For final format we plan on a 4K 2.35 cinematic ratio for the greatest emotional and theatrical effect.
Our Production Timeline
FEBRUARY TO MAY: Pre-Production
Marketing, fundraising, legal, interviewing American Soldiers, Veterans & surviving family.
MAY 15th TO JUNE 15th: Principle Photography
Travel to Normandy, principal photography of interviews, of D-Day Commemorations and reenactments of key moments.
JULY TO NOVEMBER: Post-Production
Organize & tape backup footage, commence assembly edit, rough edit, additional U.S. interviews & photography, initial test screening, fine editing, 2nd test screening, additional editing, picture lock, coloring and grading, audio conforming of interviews & original soundtrack scoring.
DECEMBER: Screenings, Marketing and Distribution
JANUARY TO MAY
Continue marketing & distribution, pre-production for 75th Anniversary celebration of D-Day in France.
MAY – JUNE
Travel crew to Normandy, France for 75th Anniversary, premiere screening at Dead Man’s Corner Museum, document reactions and follow-up footage.
JUNE TO FUTURE
Compile and edit follow-up footage, continue festival screenings, distribute to educational institutions.
I have already spent 10k of my own money to get this far but I need more funding to continue collecting the precious memories of all these amazing people! We have a scalable production model: More Money = More Crew = More Memories Collected! In short, the more camera crews we can take, the more time we can spend in Normandy, the more survivors and Veterans we can interview. Here is the budget breakdown for a FULL crew:
Pre-Production – $20K
Legal Fees, Editing and creating of marketing materials, Crowdfunding prep, US Veteran interviews
Production – $227K
Crew Salaries for 30+ Days in France & Numerous interviews in the U.S.
10 American crew, 12 French crew
Equipment & Gear
See equipment list above + Multiple GoPro and Action Cameras, G&E Package
Travel & Expenses
Round trip Airfare, per diem, boarding and breakfast and in country transportation for 10 people for 30 days, craft service & meal catering for cast and crew of 20+ each day, in country cell and internet solutions for all American crew, equipment shipping and taxes.
Production insurance, permits and tolls, gas, office supplies, US support staff while crew is in France to market, trouble shoot, run social media.
Post-Production Expenses – $53K
Editing, audio, color & VFX, Original score, festival submission fees, crowdfunding perks fulfillment and marketing.
If we reach our stretch goal we will be able to do all the above! If we don’t, we will scale back our crew and take less people and stay fewer days in Normandy. If we go over our budget, that money will be put toward our trip to Normandy in 2019 to premiere our film.
Husband to Dany for 55 years, Jean-Marie was born in Carentan, France and was 7 when the Allies arrived. The Army established a base of operations in his backyard. Among other memories he shares, he recalls trading his father’s eggs to the soldiers for chocolate and chewing gum.
Born and raised in Carentan, France, Françoise was 14 when the Allies liberated her village. Before the Allies arrived, she recalls her mother mouthing off to a German officer and being sent to a work camp where, thankfully, she soon escaped. Françoise has worked since her youth to help plan commemoration activities for veterans and their friends and family.
Grandson of a French veteran, Owner of the Batterie du Holdy (a German battery that was taken over by the Allies – now repurposed as a B&B), Director of Reenactments. Jean is passionate about keeping alive the memories of what the soldiers did for Normandy. He does this by keeping his B&B 1940’s period accurate (including period animals in the pastures!) and giving Normandy battlefield tours in a genuine Willy’s Jeep.
Deputy Mayor of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, Director Manager of the Utah Beach Museum, Owner of Brecourt Manor, Son of Colonel Michel de Vallavieille (owner of Brecourt Manor in 1944). Charles has spent his life gratefully watching over the sacred battlefields of his father’s farm and allowing veterans to visit the hallowed ground in private tours. He presents each returning veteran with a medal of thanks that his father made. He works daily with the town of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont and the Utah Beach Museum to preserve the memories of D-Day and to thank the veterans that liberated his home and town.
Co-Owner of L’Atelier and Co-Director of the Arizona Camp. Son of survivors of the occupation and liberation, he has been passionate about collecting 1940’s memorabilia and reenacting since he was a small boy. He does his part to keep the memories of WWII alive by directing the Arizona Reenactment Camp and running L’Atelier, a small private museum dedicated to the soldiers who liberated his village. He recently found letters to an American GI from his family hidden in the floorboards of an attic, and with our help in finding her, shared them with the soldier’s widow.
Co-Owner of L’Atelier and Co-Director of Arizona Camp. Collector and Reenactor. Sylvie combines her passion for the veterans and D-Day with her passion for clothes. She replicates attire of the 1940s and has written a book about how to create the 1940’s look. She works with her husband to create an authentic space to remember and celebrate at L’Atelier.
WWII Veteran, Mississippi native, “Mr. B” served with the 101st Airborne, 506th, Easy Company, also known as “Band of Brothers.” Mr. B jumped into Normandy in the wee hours of June 6th 1944, again into Holland, and was wounded in the knee at Bastogne. He made it back to Easy Company in time for them to take Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest.” He was one of the 60mm mortar men and served under Sgt. “Wild Bill” Guarnere as well as Major. Richard Winters. In Sept 2017, this production was able to introduce him to Dany so she could thank him, personally, for liberating her village.
Director, Writer, Executive Producer
Christian’s 35-year entertainment industry career spans stage, screen, and sound booth, as she has been talent, producer, director, casting director, and coach. Christian began her career in the entertainment industry interviewing Senators on Capitol Hill with the TV/Radio department of the Senate, The Senate Republican Conference. She received her BA in Theater and Broadcasting from The Catholic University while working in radio and TV on The Hill.
Post Supervisor, Writer, Executive Producer
Award winning filmmaker and creative director, he has developed commercials, narratives and documentaries that focus on the human condition and emotive issues; the core of brand relationships. His career experience spans consumer, business, and government in translating brand objectives into human factors. His direction and production experience ranges from live action and animation to special effects.
Flo honed her producer skills as the Territorial Agent – Directorate of Public Procurement for the city of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. As the daughter of Dany Patrix Boucherie, “The Girl Who Wore Freedom”, she is passionate about WWII Veterans and honoring them each year during the D-Day events. She works with officials, associations, museums and individuals in France to gain their support and cooperation.
Corey is an American character actor best known for his supporting roles in Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, Hellboy, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Captain Philips, The Bourne Ultimatum, Kick-Ass, Ex Machina, the Spooks episode “The Special” and the Doctor Who episode “Dalek”.
Director of Photography
Emmy nominated and a graduate of the rigorous University of Illinois School of Engineering, Corey made the shift to cinematography immediately after receiving his degree. A variety of successful narrative and documentary film projects confirmed his new path from day one. His work on a recent independent film, “The Grove,” won critical acclaim and awarded “Best Thriller of 2016” at the Los Angeles film festival.
Emmy award winning producer and published author with a widely diverse background in the film/television and commercial industries. Her combination of years of experience in feature film, international live events, field producing for news and documentary/interview formats along with producing international post production projects provides a unique perspective and brings valuable experience to our team.
Guillaume Le Mezo
Director of Photography – 2nd Unit, Editor
A native of France, he now lives with his wife in the U.S. His passion for cinematography spans from narratives that touch the heart to documentaries that spark the mind. His unique eye for the medium is inspired by his rich experience of working internationally. His credits also include commercial work with companies such as Adidas, Caudalie, Allstate, Vitamin Water, Grammy Pro and British Polo Day.
For our full cast and crew please visit out website.
Some of the Perks!
Utah Beach Sand
Signed Photo by Dany
Handmade Scarf by Dany
Will You Help Us Save History?
Your tax-deductible donation will help preserve and present priceless stories from our past. Our total budget is $300K but we are trying to raise just a portion of that now to get us through principle photography. Please consider joining our team and please follow us on this incredible journey! We have some unique, precious and intriguing perks so make sure you check those out too!
Thank you so very much for doing your part to preserve history and to return some good ‘ole American LOVE to the French!
Christian, Terry and The Team!
The Girl Who Wore Freedom is a joint production between Taylor Productions, LTD and Reverse Negative Studios, both of the Chicagoland area. We are a very diverse team of professionals that has over 35 years of experience in the entertainment business. We are minority owned and operated and believe in giving everyone a voice.