In fact, people across Utah, and in 46 other states, had similar experiences with nearly half a million POWs who were held in America
during WWII. With that, the idea for the documentary film, Splinters of a Nation was born.
Porter spent the next year searching for living German soldiers who could recall POW life in Utah. "An impossible task" he says. "I spoke to nearly every scholar with knowledge on the subject and they always told me the same thing, 'you're ten years too late.'" Yet his journey eventually led him to find several living German POW's all held in Utah during the war.
In September 2013, Porter captured their stories while filming in locations throughout Germany. Finding living prisoners with memories of Utah is remarkable, but as Porter explains, "it's only half the story." "Finding living Utah residents who can also recall experiences with the prisoners is the new challenge," he says. Nearly 70 years later, most of those men and women who knew the story best have passed away, including former guards and civilians. But with more than 8,000 POW's scattered throughout the state from 1943-1946, memories are sure to remain.
Porter is asking for anyone with information, photographs, 8mm film or other artifacts to please contact him through the film's Facebook page or website: Splinters of a Nation.
Porter has worked for the past two years with great urgency. "Remembering their story is so important, especially that of the Greatest Generation and their contribution here on the home front," says Porter. But the story is about to expire. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs more than 850 WWII veterans are dying everyday. It is certainly challenging to find living subjects before they pass on, but equally challenging is raising the needed funds to conduct interviews. Time is running out.
Currently the film is trying a non-traditional fundraising path through Kickstarter.com. Kickstarter creates an opportunity for people all over the world to contribute small amounts of money to help keep the film moving, but the campaign is all or nothing. "It's nerve racking. We only have a few weeks to reach our fundraising goal, or else we won't be able to keep any of the funds raised on Kickstarter," says Porter. "It's the best way to get the needed funds fast." Regardless of the challenges, the project will continue. For Porter this is more than a film, it's a story that he says, "has changed my life-a story capable of changing many lives."
About the film: Splinters of a Nation is a one-hour documentary film that tells the dramatic story of nearly half a million German POWs held captive in America during WWII. The program will be produced for public television and will premiere in 2015 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII.
###Press Release from Splinters of a Nation