Press Kit

D-Day film tells of Bedford's sacrifice
By Justin Faulconer

After four years of shooting and researching, a Virginia film company has finished a war documentary called "Bedford: The Town They Left Behind."

For more information about the film and its release, visit

The 74-minute feature film by the Johnson Group in McLean tells of Bedford's sacrifice during the D-Day Invasion - the town, now a city close to reverting back to a town, lost more men than any other U.S. locality.

Co-director and writer Joe Fab said interviews were done with survivors, including Ray Nance, the last living Bedford participant in D-Day, and Roy Stevens, a late veteran who lost a twin brother during the invasion, along with their relatives.

Though it's a subject that has become somewhat well known, Fab said the town's sacrifice is such an important story that was "extremely moving" to capture.

"We're encouraging people to look at it from a little bit different angle," Fab said.

One such way to do that, Fab said, was to incorporate the current conflicts of Afghanistan and Iraq into the film. Deployment scenes were shot of Bedford's company of the National Guard leaving for those conflicts, which Fab said shines a light on the differences between then and now.

The film doesn't take a stance for or against the current wars, he said, but is intended to make people forge their own opinions as history meets current events.

"Everyone was involved and everyone was affected," Fab said of the effort behind World War II. "Today that's not the case. I'm hoping it will put people in mind of that."

The film also follows the story of the Bedford soldiers' time at Ivy Bridge during World War II, near where they spent much time training. Fab said the filmmakers interviewed a woman who ran a local pub which was frequented by the soldiers, whom he de-scribed as "a real hoot."

The filmmakers plan to show the movie at festivals and are looking for a distributor that will decide its future in theaters or DVD production.

"For a film like this, it usually takes many months for the process to sort out," said Fab.

On Veterans Day, the Johnson Group held a screening for about 700 people at Liberty High School, many of whom Fab said were instrumental in helping make the film possible.

Bedford Mayor Skip Tharp was among those who attended.

He gave the film a thumbs up, saying it was a touching and "first class" story that he hopes a lot of people get to see.

"I thought they captured what Bedford went through and the magnitude of what we lost," he said. "They hit the nail on the head."

Tharp, who also runs a funeral home, said he has buried many veterans and their loved ones and this was a fitting tribute that brought back tears.

"It's a great story - the way they tied the history and the current events - I was just really surprised," said Tharp. "I came away feeling proud."

Co-Producer, Writer and Director

Joe Fab is an award-winning and Emmy-nominated producer and writer with more than 35 years experience in film and video production, media and communications, event production and the live presentation of plays and music.

Recent honors include the prestigious Christopher Award, given for achievements in media that "affirm the highest values of the human spirit." Also, in 2006, Billy Campbell, president of Discovery Networks U.S., presented him the Discovery and Imagination Award - an honor whose two previous recipients were Christopher Reeve and Dr. Jane Goodall.

Mr. Fab has received wide acclaim for his work as producer, writer and co-director of the feature documentary "Paper Clips", which enjoyed a successful theatrical release nationwide, ran for a year on HBO, is now appearing in theatres internationally and is available on home video. "Paper Clips" has been praised by critics and received numerous film festival awards, both from juries and audiences. It was named one of the top five documentaries of 2004 by the National Board of Review and received the Jewish Image Award in recognition of its promotion of cross cultural communication. In addition to the roles mentioned above, Mr. Fab is particularly proud to have co-written the lyrics sung by bluegrass artist Alison Krauss on the film's soundtrack.

Mr. Fab recently represented the United States as a special cultural envoy to Kuwait at the personal invitation of the U.S. Ambassador to that country. He addressed filmmakers, students and educators, speaking about the documentary and independent film industries in an effort to build understanding and collaboration, and he was honored at a reception at the American Embassy. He has also been an invited guest at the prestigious Conference on World Affairs in Boulder, Colorado, where he was a co-panelist with esteemed critic Roger Ebert as well as various other notable speakers. His panels focused on subjects as diverse as global AIDS issues, independent filmmaking, and American popular culture.

Since 1998, he has produced and written the opening ceremonies for the annual Christmas Pageant of Peace, featuring an hour of entertainment by internationally known performers and the lighting of the national Christmas tree by the president of the United States -- this event is broadcast live via satellite and seen around the world.

Recent television productions include programs for the Discovery Channel and the History Channel, as well as the NBA-focused documentary "Crossover," which he executive produced in conjunction with Penny Marshall and Magic Johnson for Showtime.

In addition to his production-related work, Mr. Fab has become a popular speaker and panelist at film festivals, synagogues and churches, at events for students and teachers and at educator conferences. He often conducts programs related to PAPER CLIPS, but also speaks on such subjects as documentary filmmaking and media literacy, which he believes to be of critical importance for young people growing up in a media-saturated world.

Mr. Fab counts among the many great gifts in his professional life the opportunity to work with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation since 1989, just after it was founded. EGPAF was the first organization to bring attention to the special plight of children with HIV/AIDS and has grown to be a leading force on their behalf both internationally and in the U.S. Producing and writing short films and live events for that organization has permitted him to work closely with children and families living with HIV/AIDS in Africa and all across the United States. These life-altering experiences have helped inspire him to make young people an important focus of his work whenever possible.

Mr. Fab resides in Vienna, Virginia. He has been married for 29 years to the very, very lovely Kay Fab, a voiceover artist who can be heard in the opening moments of "Paper Clips." He is also the proud father of Joshua, the doting grandfather of D.J., Parker and Jordan, and the humble master of Gus and Princeton.

Co-Producer, Writer and Director

Elliot Berlin is a media professional with 25 years of varied experience. His work spans an uncommonly broad range of activities, creatively and technically. He is a producer, director, writer, and editor of documentary films and a fine art and commercial still photographer. He has managed and overseen every facet of production, extending to the rigorous demands of getting a feature documentary ready for 35mm national distribution to commercial theaters by Miramax Films.

Elliot's work is both local and international. He has directed documentary productions across North America and in Latin America, numerous European locations, in Africa, and Asia. He has produced projects for national theatrical release and broadcast outlets such as HBO, The Discovery Channel, The Science Channel, and the History Channel. One film, Paper Clips, was nominated for a National Emmy and, while receiving over a dozen other major awards, was named One of the Five Best Documentaries of 2004 by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. He served Bedford: The Town They Left Behind as producer, director, editor, and post-production supervisor. All of his recent motion picture productions have been shot using High Definition video.

Mr. Berlin is currently working in two contrasting areas. He is producing a series of high-end videos for a major science exhibition that will open in late 2009 at Chicago's prestigious Museum of Science and Industry. This work will find him documenting such things as the work of tornado chasers in the Mid-West and scientists initiating and studying avalanches on the sides of snow-covered mountains; he will also guide the creation of state-of-the-art computer-generated sequences depicting the movements of atoms. At the same time he is engaged in a variety of photography projects, both personal work and work for corporate, institutional, and private clients. Late this summer he traveled to a number of US locations on photo assignments for the US Army. Mr. Berlin continues to look forward to new creative challenges and opportunities.

Executive-Producer, President of The Johnson Group

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