David Grosvenor always fantasized about making a war movie but didn’t think it would ever happen until the moment he heard the story of how his father survived World War II with the help of rescuers in Belgium.
From the moment he heard the story it wasn’t a question of if he would make a movie, it was when the shooting would begin.
The award-winning “Last Best Hope: A True Story of Escape, Evasion and Remembrance,” follows pilot Bill Grosvenor “as he retraces his steps and reunites with the people of Belgium who chose to wage a secret war against Hitler through their efforts to harbor and repatriate him and other Allied airmen who were stranded within their borders,” the film synopsis says.
The film is the recipient of eight national and international awards. Most recently, the Belgian government honored executive producers Grosvenor and Ramona Kelly, director/writer/editor Mat Hames and director of photography Wilson Waggoner.
His Royal Majesty King Albert II bestowed the decoration of Knight of the Order of the Crown on the four filmmakers. Admiral Willy Temmerman, military defense attaché to the Embassy of Belgium in Washington D.C., presented the decorations to the filmmakers during a program and screening of “Last Best Hope” at the Pritzker Military Library in Chicago on Oct. 15.
The film has strong ties to the university. Waggoner, Grosvenor and Kelly are alumni of the university. Kelly is associate director for development at the Center for American History and 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 and the Center for American History was among the list of entities that supported the film.
It’s with this support and a little luck along the way that the film came together to tell Bill’s story and the heroic tale of a group of Belgians who jeopardized their own safety to help him and others.
“Bringing this story to light gave us the opportunity to honor ordinary Belgians who acted with extraordinary courage,” Kelly said.