Adam Abel - Producer
Ryan Little - Producer/Director
J. Bateman - Composer
Bart Hendrickson - Composer
Corbin Allred was raised in Salt Lake City. When he was 13, he answered an open casting call for a film and was persuaded by the casting director to give show business a shot. The Allreds made a trip to L.A. and within two days, Corbin landed an agent. He has appeared on the big screen in such films as "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" (directed by Mel Brooks), and has guest starred in television series such as "Step by Step," "Saved by the Bell: The New Class," and "California Dreams." He also starred in "Teen Angel," on ABC's TGIF lineup. More recently, Corbin has starred on "Touched by an Angel," "Sabrina: The Teenage Witch," "CSI," "Judging Amy," "JAG," "Dharma and Greg," "Boston Public," and "State of Grace.." He has also appeared in some Red Lobster, IBM and Honda commercials. He appeared in "Anywhere But Here," which stars Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman, and starred in "Diamonds" with Kirk Douglas and Dan Akroyd.
Larry Bagby III
Larry Bagby III grew up in Thousand Oaks, California. He is no new-comer to the movie scene. He played a football player/vampire in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and was in the movie "Hocus Pocus" as "Ice," the town bully. Larry has been seen in dozens of national commercials and has guest-starred on hit shows such as "CSI," "Married with Children," "The Wonder Years," "Who's the Boss?", "Mr. Belvedere," and "thirtysomething." He has also been in other feature films such as "Airborne" and "God's Army." He also pursues singing, song writing and screenwriting, and performs stand-up comedy. He now lives in California with his family.
Kirby Heyborne is quickly making a name for himself as an extremely versatile actor. Kirby recently had a string of starring roles in such feature films as "The R.M." Kirby has also had supporting roles in "The Singles Ward," "The Work and the Story," and The Cummorah/Kirtland Project. Kirby recently demonstrated his dramatic ability with his beautiful rendition of the 23rd Psalm at he Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas Concert in the Conference Center. When Kirby is not filming, he performs with Comedy Sportz, an improv comedy troupe. Kirby is known for his ability to do "voices" and characters. He has a wide range of domestic accents; foreign accents include: proper English, Cockney, Scottish, Irish, Spanish, German, Indian and Slavic. Kirby is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah. He is married and has a 2-year-old boy.
Peter Holden was born in Portland, Oregon, and focused his early career in theater. He went to the University of Portland and received a full acting scholarship there. While there he starred as Stanley in "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "The Tempest." Later he moved to Los Angeles and landed a recurring role on "The New Dragnet." He also was a recurring guest star on "TheWonder Years." Peter also acted in the critically acclaimed film, "Out of Step," and guest starred in episodes of "Charmed" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." Peter has also been in Isuzu and Toyota commercials. He now lives in California with his wife and two children.
Alex started acting shortly after birth. As a child actor in Hollywood, he appeared in TV commercials, voice-overs, movies, and theatre. After landing a lead role in "Backbone of America" (TiffanyTheatre L.A.), he was "discovered" and at 10 years old booked a lead in the long running sitcom "Charles in Charge." After graduating from the L.A. County High School for the Arts, he resumed his career as a serial killer in "Perfect Fit," and a nervous news boy/narraator in "Starship Troopers: The Animated Series." He's been a great fan of filmmaking, and can't think of a better way to spend his life. He's had four art shows showcasing his paintings, and has read his poetry at City Hall.
Adam Abel - Producer
Adam began his filmmaking career as an intern in the "creative affairs group" at Paramount Pictures in 1994. Upon returning from an LDS mission in 1997, he continued his career in film production. Working with such notable companies/organizations as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, HBO, CBS, Zion Films, HaleStorm Entertainment, Novell, Handspring, UTA and Cosmic Pictures (just to name a few). This has given Adam a wealth of production experience. The last few years have provided Adam extensive opportunity to work closely with Producers and Directors in managing/finding vital aspects for the production of many films and commercials. He is married to a wonderful wife, Amber, and the father of two children.
Ryan Little - Producer/Director
Emmy award-winning Director Ryan Little made his feature film debut with Out of Step. The Canadian born filmmaker first captured the public's attention winning accolades from audiences and critics alike for his film The Last Good War. The film received The Jimmy Stewart Crystal Heart Memorial Award at the 1999 Heartland Film Festival and Best Dramatic Film at the 1999 Academy of Television Arts and Science College Awards. In addition to theatrical film work Ryan has directed TV commercials and other short films including the award-winning mockumentary Auteur. He recently received the Best American Director award at the 2002 Windsong Film Festival. He has taken on the role of Director of Photography on another Emmy award winning documentary Brides of the Home Front, the feature film Singles Ward and the new hit comedy RM which will be released in theatres January 2003.
J. Bateman - Composer
J Bateman produces music for his production company, Artist Point Productions. He has produced several international bset-selling fitnes albums. His original compositions can be heard in video games, radio advertisements, film and TV. He has composed and produced music for ESPN, NASCAR, HealthRider, NordicTrack, and Billy Blanks' TaeBo. J has also produced the chart-topping debut album of the popular Brazilian band, 'Herois Do Dia.' He has been on several major international tours as both a sound engineer and a guitar player. J holds a music degree in Sound Recording Technology from Brigham Young University where he was a Dean's Scholar. He was also the top graduate of his class at The Recording Workshop in Ohio. J recently teamed with MJ Productions to produce the acclaimed regional touring production of Evita.
Bart Hendrickson - Composer
Bart Hendrickson is head programmer for Hans Zimmer's Media Ventures in Los Angeles, Calif. He has designed sounds and composed music for the world-famous studio creative think tank for four years. His sound designs can be heard in numerous films, including Gladiator, Mission Impossible 2, Spirit, Atlantis, and Pearl Harbor. He has composed original music for cues in We Were Soldiers, Black Hawk Down, and Hannibal. Bart has been a session drummer in the Los Angeles area for nearly eight years lending his unique percussion style to many various recordings. He holds a degree in sound engineering and graduated from Teh Recording Workshop in Ohio. Bart and J. Bateman have composed and produced music together for over ten years, each bringing their own individual style and talents to their work.
ADDITIONAL NOTES ABOUT "THE SAINTS OF WAR" CAST AND CREW:
The cast has been announced, topped by Latter-day Saint Hollywood actor and recently returned missionary Corbin Allred. Allred, who starred in "Diamonds" with Kirk Douglas and Dan Akroyd, as well as in numerous made-for-video movies and TV series, thus becomes the best known active Latter-day Saint mainstream actor ever to star in an "LDS Cinema" movie. Wilford Brimley, who is a bigger star than Allred, previously starred in "Brigham City," but he is not a churchgoer. Actor Gordon Jump is better known than Allred, but his appearance in "The Singles Ward" was only a brief cameo. When "The Saints of War" hits movie screens, Allred will be the first active Latter-day Saint actor to have appeared in a marquee/above-the-title role in BOTH a mainstream theatrically distributed movie ("Diamonds") AND an LDS Cinema movie.
"The Saints of War", however, is NOT Allred's first Latter-day Saint-themed film. He previously starred in "Christmas Mission," a half-hour direct-to-video film produced by Greggory Peck. "Christmas Mission," along with the even better film "Only Once" (directed by Rocco DeVilliers) are now sold on a single DVD (both films feature directors' commentaries) available at LDS bookstores (as well as LDS Video Store for $17.45, free shipping).
Receiving 2nd billing in "The Saints of War" is California-based Latter-day Saint actor Larry Bagby III. Best known for his regular role as highschool football player "Larry" on the popular TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," Bagby has appeared on numerous other TV series and had a small (very small) role as a police officer in the opening drive-through-L.A. montage sequence in "God's Army." Bagby has starred in a few independent films which did not receive theatrical distribution. "The Saints of War" is his first major role in a theatrically released film.
Listed 3rd on the site is already-announced "Saints of War" star Kirby Heyborne, returning to screens in the war epic after starring in the title role in "The R.M." and having a major supporting role in "The Singles Ward." Heyborne also has a small role in the Nathan Smith Jones/Richard Dutcher movie "The Work and the Story," opening August 15th, and he plays Nephi's brother Sam in Gary Rogers' Book of Mormon movie.
Then there is Peter Holden, the talented actor best known for playing "Mr. Rigg" (Jenny's dance instructor) in Ryan Little's feature directorial debut "Out of Step."
The leads are rounded out by "Alex Niver", who I've never heard of either, but apparently he had a lead role in the sitcom "Charles in Charge" and the "Starship Troopers" Animated Series. The "Saints of War" webiste lists his name as "Alex Niver," but IMDb.com lists him as "Alexander Polinsky."
Listed as crew: Ryan Little is the writer/director. Adam Able is the producer. J. Bateman and Bart Hendrickson are the composers.
If the "The Saints of War" is completed and gets into theaters by Fall 2003 (the site's stated release time), it would compete to become the most critically-acclaimed LDS Cinema movie of 2003. It will have to compete for such a title with Kurt Hale's "The R.M.", which, similarly to "Saints of War", was a director's sophomore effort. Among LDS Cinema, "The R.M." is currently second only to "Brigham City" (and just ahead of "Out of Step") when the grades given by movie reviewers are averaged. But ignoring the grades, many critical/literary types would probably put "Out of Step" ahead of "The R.M." One achievement that has so far eluded "Saints of War" director Ryan Little is box office success. Although "Out of Step" is selling briskly on video/DVD, the movie's theatrical release went largely unnoticed and "Out of Step" was the lowest or second-to-lowest performing LDS Cinema movie to date.
Other movies which we expect will be released in 2003 are "Day of Defense", "The Work and the Story", "Suddenly Unexpected", and Gary Rogers' Book of Mormon movie, all from directors marking their feature film directorial debut. If judged purely on the director's experience, "The R.M." is the only 2003 release in the same league as "The Saints of War."
Also in the works are "The Best Two Years of My Life" (starring Kirby Heyborne), "Baptists At Our Barbecue" (based on Robert Farrell Smith's LDS novel), and Tucker T. Dansie's "Love Logs On," any of which might be finished in 2003, but none of which are as far along in their production cycles.
OTHER CHANGES ON "THE SAINTS OF WAR" WEBSITE:
The synopsis in the "Film Synopsis" section remains the same.
Under "Production News" the sentence "We are currently in production" appears, above 5 production photographs which can be clicked to be enlarged. The photography is depicts gripping war scenes, with an apparent focus on field medics. The quality is no less than what one would expect in a Hollywood war film.
In the "Trailers and Multimedia" section is the promise "Coming soon".
The "Credits" section remains the same, mentioning American Patrol Company, Rolf's Custom Crate and Reproduction, and Orangemade.
ALPINE -- In every story of war there is a message of peace.
By exploring the sacrifices and struggles of American World War II soldiers, says film producer Adam Abel, people can get a "renewed awareness of freedom."
It's a message he and film director Ryan Little hope will come from their latest movie, "Saints of War," which was filmed at various locations around Utah County in January and February by their independent film company, Medal of Honor Productions.
The story is a fictional account set against the backdrop of the Malmedy Massacre, one of the egregious events of the Battle of the Bulge. It tells of four soldiers who escape the massacre, where American POWs were gunned down by German SS troops. The four meet up with a downed British flyer, and the film traces their journey as they not only try to reach safety, despite wounds and weather, but also try to resolve internal conflicts brought on by the circumstance of war.
Above all, says Little, he and Abel hope to tell a story that is as authentic as possible, one that veterans can watch and remember, that parents and teenagers can watch and appreciate. If the filmmakers can do that, he says, they will honor those soldiers and what they did.
That quest for authenticity is evident on a rainy February morning in a snow-filled canyon above Alpine, where cast and crew and a contingent of WWII re-enactors from around the country have gathered to film events leading up to and including the massacre.
Vintage U.S. and German armored vehicles (including some made at the famous Schindler factory) line the side of the road as a group of dejected American soldiers plod up the hill, hands in the air, followed by machine gun-toting Germans.
In the foreground, an American medic rushes to help an American buddy, screaming in agony from a leg wound. But the medic is hampered by an SS soldier, who cracks him on the helmet with his rifle butt.
The scene plays out over and over, as the camera catches the action from different angles.
Alexander Niver plays the medic, one of the five men who will carry the show's drama on their shoulders. "By now," he says of his character, "I've seen so many terrible wounds that I'm numb to the whole experience. I fix people up, but I can't give them anything beyond that." In preparing for the role, he talked to a WWII medic who now lives in North Carolina. "He helped me with the attitude I needed."
However, in the film he will be forced to take care of Deacon, played by Corbin Allred, who is not only suffering from physical wounds but mental ones as well. Larry Bagby III and Peter Holden play the other two men who escape the massacre. (The fifth character, played by Kirby Heybourne, is not in the story on this day.)
During a pause in the action, the men talk about their appreciation for the soldiers their fictional characters represent. "We're only making a movie, and we're freezing," says Bagby. "I can't imagine what it was really like."
Allred's grandfather fought in the Battle of the Bulge. "He never talked about it. Now I know why. Putting on these uniforms is an honor. I didn't even know about the Malmedy Massacre. I think a lot of people have forgotten. We hope we can do it justice, touch a lot of people."
Holden is impressed by how much the canyon looks like pictures he has seen of Belgium. But he's also impressed by the story. "We're just five dogfaces trying to stay out of war, trying to find our way back home." But, adds Allred, "we do a little good along the way."
Allred's character happens to be a returned LDS missionary who served in Germany before the war. That adds to the internal conflict and tension.
But "Saints of War" is not being billed as an LDS movie, says Little. "Mormons will see things they understand. But other denominations will, too." Deacon could as easily have been Catholic or Protestant; there's a religion vs. atheism conflict, among other things, that intrigues Little.
The movie was inspired by the book "Saints at War," which details the experiences of LDS servicemen. The film narrative was not taken from the book, although the filmmakers have permission from several veterans to incorporate parts of their stories, says Geoffrey Panos, who wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay with Matt Whitaker.
But, says Panos, "It's a film that is going far beyond what you'd expect with it's budget capability. When people see what we are doing with so little money, they're astonished."
Filming has gone well. "We've not had a single sour word on the set," says Panos. "These are lovely people, so professional. And they all see the same vision." Not only is WWII "endlessly fascinating," he says, "but everyone has what is happening in the world now much on their minds." That adds to the poignancy.
The filmmakers -- and their budget -- were fortunate to find a private collector of WWII vehicles in the area who allowed them to be used. The American ones are from the Karl Smith collection, explains Roger Condron, main restoration manager for that collection. Smith has about 120 vehicles and is hoping to set up a museum somewhere in Utah County, says Condron. The half-tracks and other armored personal carriers used in the movie are "mostly the ones we use for parades and such."
The vehicles have been used in a number of other films, but Condron has been impressed with this one. "I've been on other sets where the authenticity wasn't close to this."
For that, he also credits the re-enactors, who have come from all over the country at their own expense and with their own gear, to participate as extras in the film.
They are men who, for various reasons, enjoy acting out the past. Many are former military men themselves; others had family members in the armed services.
"We are not warmongers or lovers of war in any way," says Steve Effler, of Murfreesboro, Tenn. "We do this to honor history. It's our way of honoring the veterans." But, he adds, "it is a lot of fun."
Most of the men are participating in their first movie. "It's a great way to put our hobby to good use," says Doug Britton, of Phoenix. "It's been a good experience." Given the weather, it hasn't always been easy. "But we choose to be out in the cold. It would have been a lot different if you had to be out there." It gives him a tiny taste of what it might have been like in Belgium, and has increased his appreciation of the men who fought there.
The men spent two days on the set, and then held a mini-war re-enactment for themselves. "We're just gluttons for punishment," said Bill Hutchinson, from Cheyenne, Wyo.
The equipment not provided by the re-enactors came from Ray Meldrum, who owns American Patrol Co., a manufacturer of canvas and historic costumes. Meldrum serves as senior military technical adviser for the movie, and spent the better part of a year gathering costumes, helmets, weapons and other gear.
Tara Starling, hair and makeup designer, also helps make the film look appropriately warlike. "I'm in charge of the blood and dirt," she says.
Although the film is not excessively bloody or gory (Little expects it will have a PG-13 rating simply because of the nature of war), Starling has still used a couple of gallons of Hollywood blood. "The biggest challenge has been the continuity." The story takes place over a period of several days, but the filming has taken about four weeks. "Because the film is shot out of sequence, I have to make sure all the cuts and scratches are at their proper age, that they look as they should, regardless of the elements."
She actually has nine kinds of "blood" at her disposal: fresh, fresh scab, aged, old-dried, and so forth. Some has to be thin enough to pump or spurt; some thick enough to stay in place.
"You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I really like the blood and guts," she laughs.
"Saints of War" is scheduled for release this fall. It is Little's second movie. He also directed "Out of Step," and was director of photography for "Singles Ward" and "The R.M.," all of which made a splash in the Mormon genre. Little also won a college-Emmy for a short on WWII he made while at Brigham Young University. He and Abel met while they both worked at the BYU Film Studios.
He's someone to watch, says Glenn Fisk, a freelance technician who was brought in to do some crane camera work. "He's someone I respect in the industry. I'm very impressed with how he's been able to pull it all together."
Little may be relatively new to filmmaking, but he's developed both a passion and a perspective for the craft. "We're working on a very small budget, but I'm in my element. We've got the best crew and cast. As long as it goes well, and we keep everyone safe, I'm having a great time. I'm loving it."
But, he says, he never forgets that it is "just a movie." And he hopes those who view it won't forget, either, the sacrifices of the men who actually fought in the war -- and the peace they gave us.
Director Ryan Little, sitting left, holding camera, gets ready to shoot a battle scene for "Saints of War." The film, based on the Malmedy Massacre, was shot near Alpine.
Historical photos capture real action during the Battle of the Bulge, left.
Authentic WWII vehicles provide a backdrop for captured U.S. soldiers during filming.
Makeup artist Tara Starling touches up Ben Gourley's wounds. Gourley plays an injured GI in the movie.
Ryan Little directs the action in spite of rain.
World War II re-enactors get ready for a scene during the filming of "Saints of War," which was shot in a canyon above Alpine.
In a battle filled with the cruel fortunes of war, one of the cruelest occurred near Malmedy, Belgium, on the second day of the offensive.
When Adolf Hitler announced his plans, he told his officers, "This battle is to decide whether we shall live or die. I want all my soldiers to fight hard and without pity. The battle must be fought with brutality, and all resistance must be broken in a wave of terror. The enemy must be beaten -- now or never! Thus lives our Germany."
Whether those words struck a particular note with Lt. Col. Joachin Peiper, commander of the 1st SS Panzer Division, or whether he was inclined toward brutality (as reports from the Russian front would indicate), he certainly put them into action.
Trucks carrying members of Battery B of the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion ran into Peiper's tanks at a crossroads just outside Malmedy on Dec. 17, 1944. Hopelessly outnumbered, the Americans were forced to surrender.
The men were rounded up, herded into a field and roughly searched by SS troopers who took anything of value. Then, without warning, the Germans opened fire with machine guns and rifles, mowing the prisoners down, repeatedly shooting anyone who moaned or moved.
A few of the men were able to escape into the woods, but most were killed. The death toll has never been established with certainty; various accounts put it somewhere between 70 and 130.
News of the Malmedy Massacre spread quickly among American troops, and some experts credit it with stiffening the resolve to hold positions and inflict damage on German units.
This may have been the largest example of Peiper's work, but it was not the last. By battle's end, accounts laid a total of 353 POW and 111 civilian deaths directly at his feet.
In July of 1946, 74 former SS men were tried at Nuremberg for their role in the Malmedy Massacre. All were found guilty; 43 were executed, the rest were given long jail sentences.
Sources: William K. Goolrick and Ogden Tanner, "The Battle of the Bulge," Time-Life Books; Stephen Hart and Russell Hart, "The Second World War: North Europe 1944-45," Osprey Books; Mitchell G. Bard, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to World War II," Alpha Books.
What came to be called the Battle of the Bulge was the last great illusion of a delusional man.
After the Allied troops had landed at Normandy on June 6, 1944, they moved across Europe, pushing the Germans back. By September, they controlled territory almost to the German border and figured the war was all but over.
Adolf Hitler had other ideas.
He knew the Allies were having a hard time maintaining their supply lines and that their troops were exhausted.
All he would have to do, Hitler figured, was launch a major counteroffensive that would catch his enemies by surprise, divide their forces and drive them back to the coast in defeat.
He planned the maneuver himself. By extending the ages of conscription to 16 and 60, he put together 25 new divisions of 10,000 soldiers each, called Volksgrenadiers. He created 10 new panzer brigades, each with at least 40 tanks, including as many of the new super-heavy Tiger tanks as his munitions factories could produce.
In all, he was able to amass some 300,000 men, 1,900 pieces of artillery and 970 tank and armored assault guns -- which he moved into position undetected. Partly because so few officers were brought into the inner circle and there were few radio transmissions that could be intercepted, and partly because the Allies did not believe the Germans were capable of such a move, the Allies, who picked up a few scattered signals, failed to put it all together until it was too late.
Hitler chose the Ardennes region, a densely wooded stretch, with rolling hills and deep ravines, near the Belgium/Luxembourg border. Not only was the area rather lightly guarded (by mostly American troops), it was the site of successful invasions in both 1914 and 1940; Hitler felt he had the weight of history on his side. His main goal: Antwerp.
The attack came early in the morning of Dec. 16, 1944 -- chosen because weather forecasts indicated an extended period of fog and snow that would keep the American air force grounded.
Fierce fighting broke out all along an 85-mile front. The Americans, caught by surprise, were initially forced back -- but not without putting up a heroic defense.
The siege of Bastogne added a famous footnote to history. The Germans had the city surrounded. But when they asked the Americans to surrender, Gen. Anthony McAuliffe sent back a one-word reply: "Nuts!"
The Germans pushed steadily toward the Meuse River, considered vital to their cause. But they were having supply problems of their own. Promised trainloads of gasoline needed to fuel the tanks proved to be nonexistent, and the Germans had to rely on captured fuel dumps -- which did not materialize as they had planned.
Clearing weather, which allowed for air raids, and the arrival of reinforcements finally turned the tide toward the Allied side. German penetration was stopped about five miles from the Meuse.
By Jan. 28, 1945, it was over -- but not without tremendous cost to both sides.
The Americans suffered more than 80,000 casualties, including more than 10,200 killed, the rest wounded or missing. German losses were even heavier, with 100,000 casualties and the destruction of equipment that could not be replaced. The famed Luftwaffe, already seriously reduced, made its final air offensive of the war. The loss of 300 planes was too much to overcome.
The Battle of the Bulge, named because of the circular arc it created in the American lines, turned out to be the largest battle in Western Europe. Had Hitler's gamble paid off, it would have been considered brilliant. Instead, this final act of desperation is counted by history as more of a blunder.
Sources: William K. Goolrick and Ogden Tanner, "The Battle of the Bulge," Time-Life Books; Stephen Hart and Russell Hart, "The Second World War: North Europe 1944-45," Osprey Books; Mitchell G. Bard, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to World War II," Alpha Books
Films and television programs shot entirely or partially in Utah during the past year and their current video status:
RECENTLY COMPLETED FILMING
[3 other lists in article: RECENT/CURRENT RELEASE; AWAITING RELEASE/AIRING; CURRENTLY/OR SOON TO BE FILMING]