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NC Register Reports on EWTN Film Featuring TAC Students

Posted: August 28, 2017

The National Catholic Register has published a story about the making of Called and Chosen: Father Vincent R. Capodanno — a forthcoming EWTN docudrama that features several Thomas Aquinas College students and recent graduates. The story discusses how the idea came about to re-create, for the camera, the battle scenes in which Fr. Capodanno participated while serving as  Marine chaplain in Vietnam. It also describes the role of the TAC extras in the production:

“There was a major snag when we were planning to take a number of veterans who were with Father Capodanno when he died in that the battle to Vietnam,” [Director-Producer James] Kelty recalled. The idea was to share their memories at the exact location. But the Vietnamese denied the group visas.

“That turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” he said. Instead, they decided to re-create the whole battle scene as closely as possible, using young men about the same age as the veterans were at that time. “Everybody got excited about these dramatizations.”

Several of the Marines flew out to California to insure everything was done as accurately as possible, down to the military haircuts. Kelty said it was moving to interview the veterans about their memories and then to re-enact some of those scenes.

“There are pretty realistic combat scenes,” said [retired Marine Capt. George] Phillips. “Four of us who knew Father Capodanno personally — the company commander and myself and two other Marines — went out with these young men and spent five days with them to make sure it was right — how you hold the weapons; how you walk. By the beginning of the second day, everybody bonded, like pulling the Marines together all on one team.” …

The young men playing the Marines, Kelty explained, are “a devout bunch of young guys” at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, which is located 45 minutes from the filming site.

EWTN will debut Called and Chosen: Father Vincent R. Capodanno at 10:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, August 30. The network will also air encores at 3:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday, September 2, and Monday, September 4.