I want to thank everyone who came out to the World premier of Above and Beyond at the Providence Performing Arts Center last week. More than 1000 people came to watch the story of how my father, former RI Governor Bruce Sundlun was shot down in his b-17 over Belgium and lived to tell about it. The Jewish bomber hid in Catholic churches and stole bicycles to make his way to Switzerland.
My deepest gratitude goes to The World War Two Foundation, especially its founder Tim Gray who produced and directed the film, and Jim Karpeichik the photographer who captured one emotional moment after the other when I retraced my father’s steps in Jabbeke, Belgium. Now my whole family can pass down the story because of this film. Here we are under the marquee!
I even made special popcorn bags at Hartford Prints.
The man who made this movie possible is Luc Packo, a Belgian has been collecting pieces of my father’s plan since he was 12 years old and has spent his life researching the story of what happened to everyone aboard the crew of The Damn Yankee. His son Jens Packo played my father in the movie.
My father, the pilot, was the only one who was not killed or captured and my heart goes out to the other children of the crew who have a different story to tell. Barbara Cologne lost her father the ball turret gunner Harry Cologne when she was only a toddler. Thanks to Luc and the World War Two Foundation she now knows what happened to her Dad, and at the age of 72 drove from Oklahoma to see the movie.
The Jewish film festival will screen Above and Beyond on March 15th in Hartford, CT. The venue has yet to be announced, but I will keep you posted.
Walking in my father’s footsteps helped me to understand how he became the tough as nails fighter he was in life. Facing death weighs on a human heart, and my father learned to build walls around his. I am so grateful I was able to unlock them when I met him as a teenager and it’s a story I tell in my memoir Finding Dad From Love Child to Daughter
that comes out this fall on 11.11 which is also Veteran’s Day.