“Return to Hardwick,” a documentary detailing the return of members of a World War II bomber squad to their air base in England, will be screened Jan. 24 at the Gulf Theater at the Military Heritage Museum.
Michael Sellers, the New York-based producer who wrote, produced and directed the documentary, said he made the film out of a sense of duty to the veterans who flew with the 93d Bomb Squad, which called Hardwick home during the war. One of those veterans was his grandfather, John L. Sullivan, who was a bombardier and navigator with the 93d.
The 93rd Bomb Group was the most decorated, most traveled and most effective bomber group of World War II, according to the documentary’s website. Crippling Hitler’s Europe from the air, the crews executed some of the most daring bombing raids of the war.
“I’ve been part of the 93d as a third-generation member for a few years now,” Sellers said. “About five, six years ago there were rumblings within the group that they wanted to do a film. Me being a producer, director and editor here in New York, I got interested.”
The film follows the veterans, their sons, daughters and grandchildren to England to uncover the history of the 93d’s long-forgotten base, located between the villages of Norfolk and Hardwick.
The film was screened at the Gulf Theater in June — about a month after it was completed — and theater officials wanted to bring it back “because when we showed it the first time it was out of season and we thought that this time around it would give an opportunity for those seasonal residents to see it,” said Isaac James, Gulf Theater manager.
The film is part of the 93d’s outreach. The bomber group is a nonprofit with a mission to educate future generations. Members, friends and family funded the $90,000 project themselves – “no crowd funding, no grants, no government funding,” Sellers said.
The documentary is important, James said, “because it is an inside perspective from family members of the bombing regiment at the grown-over and disappearing World War II Hardwick airbase. They’re talking about the history they learned from the men who flew the planes.
“The film is fantastic and very well put together by Michael Sellers, who did extensive research in the making of it.”
The theater is offering a deal with advance purchase. Any ticket bought before Jan. 24 will also be good for admission to the Military Heritage Museum. The show includes an introduction by Sellers, the 73-minute film, and a question-and-answer session.
“Patrons should bring their ticket to the museum during the day on the 24th for admission,” James said.