Filmmaker Darla Rae to Help World War II Veteran Tell His Story of Honor and Love in “The French American”

Filmmaker Darla Rae and Film It Productions will produce and direct the World War II feature film “The French American,” based the real-life experiences of Major John Tschirhart. The film will be shot in the United States – Colorado, Texas and elsewhere, and in France. Filming is expected to begin in spring 2015, but not without your help.

Filmmaker Darla Rae to Help World War II Veteran Tell His Story of Honor and Love in

U.S.-born Tschirhart was raised in France, but as an American citizen was required to repatriate to the U.S. when Germany invaded France in 1940. He left behind the only life he had known and his fiancée Malou. Living with relatives in San Antonio, Texas, he became Americanized, and when the U.S. joined the war, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, serving as a bombardier on missions flying out of Great Britain. At the same time, Malou was in Paris, working with the French Resistance.

Rae learned about Tschirhart from a news story detailing his award of the French Legion of Honor medal – France’s highest distinction for those who fought in at least one of the three main campaigns of the Liberation of France – on the anniversary of D-Day in 2014. Said Rae, “John has carried this story for 70 years, and during the past 20 years, several filmmakers have promised to help bring his story to the big screen. They took his money, but never delivered. Once I heard all of the beautiful components of his life I wanted to help make it right. We should pay respect to our veterans, not take advantage of them. I have great admiration and respect for our soldiers and you can’t deny working with a WWII veteran is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a filmmaker.”

Rae and her company are known for telling true stories which educate and inspire. Her most recent film “Spirit of Love, the Mike Glenn Story” was made available for free to every deaf and blind student, and their parents, teachers, and coaches in the U.S. through the Department of Education.

Taking on a film project like “The French American” is a huge undertaking and requires a large team of professional crew and talent. Rae has created an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign for “The French American,” dubbing it “Give John a Buck,” so that everyone can be involved and contribute to this inspiring film. Tschirhart will turn 94 on December 20, 2014, and Rae and her team hope to have raised sufficient funds to make the film and surprise John with the knowledge that at last his story will be told. Rae is assembling a cast which includes character actors Basil Hoffman (The Artist, Ordinary People) and Steven Christopher Parker (Juno, ER).

“We can’t do it alone. We need every red-blooded American who supports the military, or has a family member who served in WWII, or even those who love history or film, or just really want to put a smile on an old soldier’s face, to contribute to the crowd funding campaign. Everyone who gives, even as little as one dollar, will receive a digital download of the finished film. We want to showcase the ‘Greatest Generation’ and share this story with younger generations. I believe it’s important because there are only 1 million WWII vets alive out of the 16 million who served. On an average, 550 pass away each day, and with them goes our history. We plan to film in the spring however we have been given enough to allow us to film in November on the battleship USS Texas which will be the closing scene of the film, but we need everyone’s help and that is why we set up a crowd funding opportunity on indiegogo,” Darla says.