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We discuss SAE Brussels Film Alumni, Calvin Yearsley’s award winning short film – A Soldier’s Letter.

For people in countries where military service is not mandatory, understanding history and the complexity of being part of the army can be difficult. History is usually taught via books in school, but for many this leaves a gap between something that can be interpreted and the reality. Films have this power of pulling the viewer in, especially when the narrator is the main character, and allowing a person to fully step into the world that the director has wanted to create.

This is how history was taught in Calvin Yearsley’s short film A Soldier’s Letter. It tells the story of the Malmedy massacre that happened in Belgium during the second World War. A young American soldier called Tommy finds himself as a survivor, and has to find his way back to the allied frontline to let everyone know what has happened in order to not forget.


Here are four reasons why A Soldier’s Letter is keeping history alive:

1. The story was created by a filmmaker that never knew about the event before

Creating films takes a huge amount of behind the scenes work from the get go. The director has to come up with a potent story able to make people think and feel. To come up with a very real version of what happened, the director really needs to research the elements that made up the world back then, because the actors will need to know every little detail in order to be able to adapt themselves into the mindset of someone from the past. The more we open up our history, the better it stays alive.


2. Not a lot of people know about the Malmedy massacre

According to the director of the film, the Malmedy massacre has not been widely researched and communicated. By making a realistic film and being able to show it to the public all around the world, we are opening eyes and making people aware.


3. The filming took place in Belgium

As a conscious decision to make the film as realistic as possible, the filming took place in Belgium. Since the film happens mostly in nature, it would have been odd to film elsewhere where nature would not have the same fauna and flora. The environment allows the mind of the person watching to discover a modern place where not so long ago, atrocities took place.


4. The amount of success the film has received

The short film has received a huge amount of success all around the world. To name a few, it received awards from the Venice Shorts Film Fest, Around International Film Festival and Canada Shorts. This very much proves that we still care about our history, and want to remember. Many films exist about historical events, but the fact that new ones are still being rewarded in events all around the world, shows our need for more knowledge on what happened.


We would like to proudly congratulate Calvin on the success of this film. We hope to welcome him on campus soon to share his knowledge on what it took to make this film. Keep your eyes peeled for updates!


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