TheChaplainKit.com in the Movies
A little vanity here, but it is exciting to be involved in projects beyond TheChaplainKit.com! Here are the stories of media productions much larger than this website that TheChaplainKit.com has had a part in (even minimally).
Called and Chosen
Toward in the end of May 2017, I received a call at my office. On the other line was James Kelty, a producer who was working on a project for the Father Capodanno Guild entitled Called and Chosen. He explained a little bit about the project and the goal of the Guild to encourage the eventual declaration of sainthood of Father Capodanno then began to ask about chaplain kits used in Vietnam. Mr. Kelty explained that the goal was for the film to air on the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) on the 50th anniversary of Chaplain Capodanno’s death, 4 September 2017. I explained to him what I knew about Vietnam-era chaplain kits and what I had in my collection.
For a few days after our phone conversation, I continued researching the type of chaplain kit Chaplain Capodanno may have used, including contacting Chaplain Mode, a Navy chaplain who wrote the book “Grunt Padre” which the film is partially based on. I had some information shared with me by the producer from Chaplain Capodanno’s chaplain assistant in Vietnam but there was little other information or pictures available that could give much of a clue. I continued to research it, contacting an Army chaplain friend of mine who is a massive chaplain militaria collector and historian. He had a lot of great information to give me including what Marine chaplains likely used while in the field in Vietnam.
After sharing what I found out with the producer and talking over the visual aspects of the scene, it was decided that I would send him my Vietnam-era Catholic chaplain kit that was primarily used by Army chaplains, but sometimes by Marine chaplains in Vietnam. The elements included in the kit, the size and portability of the case and the visual appeal all contributed to make it the best choice. So I sent it to him FedEx overnight, with it expected to arrive just two days before they were scheduled to fly out for shooting the first weekend of June.
In November 2016 while I was in Washington D.C. attending an Army course, I received an e-mail from Amanda Bonavita of Turquoise Films. She is the producer of GI Jews, a film being developed about American Jews’ involvement in World War II which will be released on national public television with teachers guides being distributed through the PBS Learning Library. Ms. Bonavita had seen several pictures on TheChaplainKit.com that she had questions about and inquired about other information that I had on Jewish chaplain participation in WW2. I gave her information on the pictures she asked about, and shared with her more that I had in my files that I hadn’t yet posted, and other information pertaining to Jewish chaplains and their training in World War II. I had very minimal involvement in GI Jews but it was exciting to be involved, even a little, in a film that will include chaplains’ ministry in war.