A World War II film made by the Colorado Film School on the Community College of Aurora’s Lowry campus in conjunction with the office of U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter will be a permanent fixture at the Library of Congress as part of the Veterans History Project.
There will be a ceremony in Washington on Thursday marking the occasion, as well as a screening of “Operation Detachment: Taking Iwo Jima.” The documentary features interviews with Colorado Marines who landed on the Pacific island and recounted their oral history of those events.
Two CCA faculty: the film school’s Scott VanOrdstrand and social sciences chair Geoff Hunt played integral roles in the project. Alumni Jeff Anderson also was a key figure in last year’s production.
It’s the second time CCA faculty and students have worked with the Congressman on films for the Veterans History Project, which collects, preserves and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations can better understand the realities of war.
The archive includes personal narratives, correspondence and visual materials and spans all U.S. conflicts dating back to World War I.
"The stories these veterans have to tell teach us important lessons about the resilience of our people, communities and nation," said Perlmutter. "We are a great nation, made up of courageous people willing to sacrifice for our country. And we can do anything if we set our minds to it. I am so proud of these men, of my country, and the determination of all those who continue to risk their lives and stand strong for us each and every day."
Perlmutter, CCA staff and students previously worked together on a project with veterans from WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Those interviews were turned into a movie, “The Wars We Fought: Frontline Stories of Colorado Veterans,” and a documentary-short offshoot, “In Times of War.”
The latter production was selected for showing at the GI Film Festival in 2009 in Washington and won a pair of awards: Best Short Documentary at the Estes Park Film Festival, and the Colorado Spotlight Award at the Indie Spirit Film Festival.
The Colorado Film School, a top-25 national pick by the Hollywood Reporter as an industry leader, used students in the history department and film-video programs on both projects. Faculty members oversaw and directed the students recording interviews, gathering background information and completing the films.
“Most amazing was how much information the veterans were willing to share,” VanOrdstrand said. “Some had never spoken of their experience after returning from combat, not even to their spouses. The emotional stories of the veterans can now be shared with the nation.”