Entertainment Magazine: Film: Heartland Film Festival: 2012

The Saints and Soldiers Are Marching In

By Jared Winslow

A movie has to be at least somewhat popular to have a sequel.  This is true with the two Saints and Soldiers movies, though the second one isn’t exactly a sequel.  They are both about World War II. 
The first one was Saints and Soldiers (2003), and it was popular and won awards as an independent film.  The new one isSaints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed.  It has just come out on DVD (November 2012).  
Producer Adam Abel and director Ryan Little were able to make a second film about another part of World War II because they have the experience.  They have made four feature length films together and they have each worked on other projects too.  The other two films are Outlaw Trail (2006) and Forever Strong (2008).  Their movies just keep getting better and better!
Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed takes place in France where the three main characters, three American soldiers, meet up (along with some French people who are part of the French Resistance).  For most of the movie, they kick butt when they run into Nazi soldiers. 
It is spiced with action, explosives, romance, and drama all rolled into a great storyline inspired by the real-life heroes.  The movie shows how bad things were during the war and how some people gave their lives to make the world better.  It even shows that Nazi soldiers were just people too. 
So who can fool the ambitious French and Americans making their way behind enemy lines?  The Germans?  Nope! 
When I watched the movie at the Heartland Film Festival, I met Ryan Little and Adam Abel and I got to ask them some questions.
1. How did you pick rugby as the sport in Forever Strong?
This was a project that was brought to us by another producer who had discovered this inspiring true story about the Highland Rugby Team.  So we really didn't pick anything since we were hired to make the film.  It was a great experience, though.
2. Which did you like making more, Saints and Soldiers or Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed?
That is a tricky question.  The first Saints movie was a very special film because it was our first.  We have lots of wonderful memories. Airborne Creed is probably a little better crafted because advancements in film and VFX technology allowed us to do things we couldn't do on the first film.  Both were equally rewarding, but we have more experience now as filmmakers, so Airborne Creed was less stressful to make in that sense.  
3. Are all of your films available through Hulu and Netflix?  How do you choose which movie services to use?  Was Saints and Soldiers available on Hulu first?
All of our films have been available on both services.  Our sales agents were approached by Hulu and Netflix and we accepted both offers. Saints and Soldiers was one of the original films on Hulu.  We were the top-rated independent film for two years.  That’s a great honor.  
4. How much money and time did you spend on guns, tanks, and explosions for Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed?
It’s hard to say how much was actually spent, but all of those things are really expensive.  You can easily spend $10,000 or more on renting a tank for a film shoot for just one day.  One full, authentic soldier’s uniform with the appropriate weapon can add up to more than $2,000 for each character.  When you get 40+ guys out there, it adds up fast.  One of the biggest cost factors for explosions and firing weapons is the time involved.  You can't rush that stuff.  It has to look right and it has to be safe.  So really your biggest expense is all the people on set who are helping to make it happen.  Sometimes it feels like we are moving in slow-motion when it comes to prepping it all.  It can move really slowly.  
5. What is it about World War II that fascinates you?   
When we started shooting the first Saints and Soldiers, we were focused on the constant sense of danger and conflict, which helps make an engaging story.  When the film was completed and we were going to all the film festivals, our fascination with World War II changed somewhat.  After meeting with World War II veterans, who saw the film and appreciated our stories, it became more about honoring them for what they sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy in this country.  There is also something iconic and majestic about the uniforms, vehicles, and even the social dynamics of that time.  It was very different in many respects from today.  
6. How much do you like your job as a filmmaker?  What else would you do if you weren’t a filmmaker? 
Being a filmmaker is really hard, at least for me.  It can consume you.  But I am addicted to it.  Something about taking all these random little shots and editing them together to create some new reality is really fascinating to me.  If I wasn't a filmmaker, I would be a photographer or do something with graphic design.  
Thank you for the interview!

Read Madelyn Ritrosky's interview with Ryan Little and Adam Abel about Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed.

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