A young French-American woman immerses herself in the deeply personal and powerful reality of liberation, as she watches men and women from all across Europe come together to honor WWII 101st Airborne Veteran, Tom Rice.

Sign up for updates


Synopsis

Grueling Glory places us in the middle of a reenactment march to Carentan, France, as we hear the comforting voice of French-American translator Michèle Phoenix who is witnessing this emotional experience for the first time. She describes a quiet and serious group of around 200 men arriving at the outskirts of Carentan, then a loud siren, and a vehicle arriving. Out of the vehicle emerges, WWII 101st Airborne Veteran Tom Rice, a man who was no stranger to this land. The reenactors show respect and honor towards Staff Sergeant, as he tells his emotional experiences as a young soldier in Normandy.

Several hours later those same soldiers marched in the town of Carentan, now 400 strong and followed by others in period civilian dress. The emotional weight of being immersed in history revived was not lost on Michèle, or anyone in that moment. The day left Michèle both moved and shaken, as it was a perfect encapsulation of the love that Normandy extends to it’s liberators. Finally, as the ceremony ends and paper lanterns fill the sky we are reminded of the most important phrase, "never forget".


Cast

Tom Rice

Tom was sent to the 501 Parachute Infantry Regiment (501 PIR) for basic training at Camp Toccoa, Ga. and then completed the parachute jumping school at Fort Benning. Ga in 1943. After eighteen months of training, he became a member of the newly formed 101st Airborne Division.

Michèle Phoenix

Writer/Director – Raised in France by a Canadian father and an American mother, Michèle is an international teacher, writer and speaker. After teaching at an American school in Germany for 20 years, she launched her own work advocating for the children of missionaries. In her spare time, Michele writes novels, which have been published in the United States, Canada, Norway and Poland. “Tangled Ashes” was born of her fascination for WWII history and focuses on a little known Nazi program that was established in 1943 in the French village in which she grew up. This new opportunity to further explore this period of history is a dream come true.

Denis Van Den Brink

Denis van den Brink has has a passionate interest. He is a PR and Communications professional. He has focused on, for over 25 years, the American airborne troops from 1940 to 1945, from the beginnings of the US Airborne, the gradual activation of the first battalions, then regiments and finally the divisions deployed in all theaters of operations throughout the last world war. His careful and through research is both chronological and on an individual level concerning the men and high-ranking paratroop officers who forged the legend. The fighting experienced by the American paratroopers in Normandy, both those of the 82nd Airborne and the 101st Airborne, are often summed up in a few feats of heroism straight from a Hollywood movie. They deserve, however, to be looked at more closely. His book, Heroes of Carentan, aims to do this, casting a human light on the surprising and cruel diversity of individual destinies that were caught up in the battle of Carentan.

Thomas Voisin

Collector and Re-enactor. Thomas became interested in the history of D-Day at the age of 10 when a friend’s father encouraged him to dress up as a US Army soldier. At 16 he began collecting and reenacting. His goal is to share his knowledge of the war and pay tribute to the men who fought for the liberation of Europe. He considers himself an ambassador of the history of his region and says “it is important not to forget the sacrifices of these men and women so that we can live free today.”


Crew

Michèle Phoenix

Writer/Director – Raised in France by a Canadian father and an American mother, Michèle is an international teacher, writer and speaker. After teaching at an American school in Germany for 20 years, she launched her own work advocating for the children of missionaries. In her spare time, Michele writes novels, which have been published in the United States, Canada, Norway and Poland. “Tangled Ashes” was born of her fascination for WWII history and focuses on a little known Nazi program that was established in 1943 in the French village in which she grew up. This new opportunity to further explore this period of history is a dream come true.

Christian Taylor

Director/Producer - Award winning director of the break-out documentary, The Girl Who Wore Freedom, Christian’s 45-year entertainment industry career spans stage, screen, and decades of professional voice over work. She has worn many hats such as talent, producer, director, casting director, and coach. While attending Catholic University of America’s Theater program, Christian began her career in the entertainment industry interviewing Senators on Capitol Hill with the TV/Radio department of the United States Senate. The Girl Who Wore Freedom and Grueling Glory are her directorial debuts. Her upcoming documentary series, The Brave Dutch, completes Christian’s hat-trick of professional documentary projects.

Bill Ebel

Lead Editor – Bill is an award winning editor with over 20 years in the film/television industry. He has worked on a wide variety of projects from television commercials for clients such as McDonalds, Budweiser, Kraft, Sears, and Gatorade to feature film work including the Kendrick Brothers films Fireproof, Courageous, and Overcomer (releasing in August of 2019). He was also the editor for Phil Vischer’s children’s series What’s in the Bible with Buck Denver. He now lives in Nashville with his beautiful wife and five children, and is the proud grandson of Raleigh Zike, World War 2 Army veteran.

Jeff Kurtenacker

Lead Composer – With over 15 years experience writing music for media, Jeff is an acclaimed composer known for bringing worlds and characters to life with memorable melodies and emotionally engaging music. Most noted for his video game scores such as Dreamworks Igor, Pirates of the Burning Sea, and WildStar, Jeff is excited to bring his passion for narrative musical storytelling to The Girl Who Wore Freedom. A native of Green Bay, WI, Jeff now lives in Southern California with his wife and two kids.

Jason Hoban

Location & Post Audio – Jason is a decorated United States Air Force Veteran. Upon completing his enlistment, he attended Full Sail University. He earned a bachelors of science in the recording arts and a masters of science in entertainment business. Jason is an audio engineer who’s worked on award wining independent films and advertisements.

Corey Lillard

Director of Photography – Emmy nominated and a graduate of the rigorous University of Illinois School of Engineering, Corey made the shift to cinematography immediately after receiving his degree. A variety of successful narrative and documentary film projects confirmed his new path from day one. His work on a recent independent film, “The Grove,” won critical acclaim and awarded “Best Thriller of 2016” at the Los Angeles film festival.

Guillaume Le Mezo

Director of Photography / 2nd Unit, Editor – A native of France, he now lives with his wife in the U.S. His passion for cinematography spans from narratives that touch the heart to documentaries that spark the mind. His unique eye for the medium is inspired by his rich experience of working internationally. His credits also include commercial work with companies such as Adidas, Caudalie, Allstate, Vitamin Water, Grammy Pro and British Polo Day.


Press

Assets available for download

Trailer
Stills from the Film
Posters


Filler

Filler

Filler

Filler

Thank you

Thanks for signing up! We've added you to the list and will be in touch when we have exciting news.