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Award-winning documentary features 16 Cedar Crest veterans

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October 27th, 2009
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In honor of Veterans Day, the film Our Heroes: The Veterans at Cedar Crest will be shown on the community s in-house TV station, Channel 6, throughout November. The film, which was made entirely by residents, tells the stories of 16 Cedar Crest military veterans from World War II and the Korean War. In 2008, the film won a Telly Award, an honor presented to outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions.

An idea is born

It started as a fleeting idea. We were in film class [at Channel 6] trying to come up with unique show ideas when I thought it might be interesting to document some of the heroic stories from our vets, explains Doris Sinofsky, who lives at Cedar Crest. We have so many heroes here, and oftentimes, friends and even family members children and grandchildren don t know what they have done for us and our country. The idea took off. Sinofsky, who directed the film, was tasked with rounding up veterans to interview. Believe it or not, there are very few men here who aren t veterans, Sinofsky says. So she spent each night at dinner making her way around the campus restaurants, entreating veterans to participate. We have World War II and Korea veterans, but most just didn t want to talk about their experiences or dig up those memories, she explains. Eventually, more than 16 men and women signed up and told their unique stories.

Making the movie

During the interviews, we focused on their travels, training, what happened when they were in harm s way, the stories behind all the medals .we wanted to make something that had a lot of different things in it, something representative of the whole experience of the day, says Sinofsky. The film gleaned from six hours of raw footage runs 55 minutes. The hardest part was trying to whittle all of these great stories down into just one film, she says. They all deserved to be told in their entirety.

Stories worth telling

One of the men interviewed was Thomas Cuffari, who served in the Army s 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, or Ghost Army. His outfit was composed mostly of artists, designers, actors, meteorologists, and sound technicians, and their mission was to deceive the German army into diverting troops or attacking dummy locations. Their props were inflatable tanks and pyrotechnics; their tools, camouflage spoof radio plays and special effects. It was a different story to tell, Cuffari says of participating in the movie. I think our story in particular wasn t told much because what we did was classified for years. But Doris did a tremendous job, and the movie turned out really well. I have a copy, and my kids love it. They are proud of it, and that makes me feel good. They knew before what I had been a part of, but not all the details. [Our Heroes] is really a tribute to all of the people who have ever served and is great for posterity. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Count off

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are: 24.9 million military veterans in the U.S. 9.7 million veterans age 65 or over 1.7 million female veterans 6 states with 1 million or more veterans: Calif. (2.3 million) Fla. (1.8 million) Tex. (1.7 million) N.Y. (1.2 million) Pa. (1.2 million) Ohio (1.1 million)

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