FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Associate Director for Communications
The Center for American History
Belgian Government Honors Four Austin Filmmakers
AUSTIN, TX – Oct. 15, 2007 – The Belgian government is honoring four Austin filmmakers for their work on the documentary, Last Best Hope: A True Story of Escape, Evasion, and Remembrance, an award-winning film about the Belgian Resistance during WWII. His Majesty the King, Albert II of the Belgians, has bestowed the decoration of Knight of the Order of the Crown on the film’s executive producers David Grosvenor and Ramona Kelly, director/writer/editor Mat Hames, and director of photography Wilson Waggoner.
(left to right: David Grosvenor, Wilson Waggoner, Ramona Kelly, Mat Hame;
click images to enlarge)
Admiral Willy Temmerman, Military Defense Attaché to the Embassy of Belgium in Washington D.C., will present the decorations to the filmmakers during a program and screening of Last Best Hope at the Pritzker Military Library in Chicago on Monday, Oct. 15. The Pritzker Library will webcast the presentation live from http://www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org/ beginning at 7:30 p.m. CDST.
The film has strong ties to The University of Texas at Austin and the Austin community. Grosvenor, Kelly, and Waggoner are alumni of the University. Kelly joined the Center’s staff in Sept. 2006, and is now associate director for Development at the Center for American History. Grosvenor is manager of graphic services in the Division of Continuing and Innovative Education. Waggoner and Hames are partners in the Austin film production company, Alpheus Media, Inc., which produces State of Tomorrow for the UT System. KLRU-TV was the project’s presenting station to PBS, the Austin Film Society served as the film’s fiscal sponsor, and the University’s Center for American History was among an impressive list of entities that supported the film through grants and contributions. The film’s sponsors included the Kingdom of Belgium, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Texas, the Dodge Jones Foundation, the Still Water Foundation, and others too numerous to mention.
“This film is a unique and historically significant depiction of the Resistance in Belgium because it gives the viewer a personal connection to a little-known part of the Second World War story,” said Dr. Don Carleton, executive director of the Center for American History. “We are honored to have been part of this project.”
Last Best Hope is the recipient of eight national and international awards, including:
Mendocino International Film Festival: Audience Choice Award
Mendocino International Film Festival: Best Feature Documentary
Chicago International Film Festival Hugo Awards for Television Excellence: Silver
Calgary International Film Festival, Official Selection
Texas Independent Filmmakers Festival: People’s Choice Award
Dallas Video Festival, Official Selection
Jackson Hole International Film Festival, Official Selection
Worldfest, Houston International Film Festival: GOLD REMI
Additionally, the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago has included Last Best Hope in its permanent archive of outstanding television documentaries.