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Filmed on location in Europe and the United States, Come Before Winter is a docudrama that lifts the curtain on cruel ironies of the final weeks of World War II in Europe and tracks two longtime foes of Adolf Hitler: iconic German pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and virtuoso propagandist, Sefton Delmer.


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FILM DETAILS

Title: Come Before Winter, Dietrich Bonhoeffer And His Companions In The Dying Gasps Of The Third Reich

Director: Kevin Ekvall

Producer: Gary Blount

Production Company: Stories That Glow Collectors

Year of Completion: 2016

Length: 75 minutes

Language: English

Genre: Docudrama

Website:  www.comebeforewintermovie.com

LOGLINE

Filmed on location in Europe and the United States, Come Before Winter is a docudrama that lifts the curtain on cruel ironies of the final weeks of World War II in Europe and tracks two longtime foes of Adolf Hitler: iconic German pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and virtuoso propagandist, Sefton Delmer.

 

SYNOPSIS

Filmed on location in Europe and the United States, Come Before Winter is a docudrama that lifts the curtain on cruel ironies of the final weeks of World War II in Europe and tracks two longtime foes of Adolf Hitler: iconic German pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and virtuoso propagandist, Sefton Delmer.

For years Bonhoeffer has been speaking out against Hitler and the Nazis.  Such boldness has landed him in prison where he is left to consider the moral dilemma of the resistance in the company of his fellow prisoners.  Crushed by the failure of operation Valkyrie, Bonhoeffer discovers that “it is only by living completely in this world that one learns to have faith.”

Meanwhile, in a secret location outside London, a team of propagandists gather daily to transmit a fake news radio program into German-occupied Europe, spreading confusion and fooling the enemy into thinking that they are listening to a real German radio station. Leading this team is Sefton Delmer and by his side is Bonhoeffer’s friend Otto John, eventual head of West Germany’s domestic intelligence service and Ian Fleming, British naval intelligence officer and creator of the iconic James Bond spy novels. 

Did fearless German resistance plotters and shrewd Allied propagandists make a difference? And how does Dietrich Bonhoeffer bring into focus ethical challenges during his final days in the dying gasps of the Third Reich?

 

MOTIVATION FOR THE FILM

Come Before Winteris a passion project of Minnesota psychiatrist Gary Blount.  Inspired by Bonhoeffer’s exemplary faith and courage, Blount began researching Bonhoeffer during his college years and has been fascinated with the story ever since.

Over the last few decades Blount researched this beloved theologian, making several trips to Europe to visit Bonhoeffer’s family, interview scholars and experience the places where Bonhoeffer’s life unfolded.

 

FROM GARY BLOUNT – PRODUCER

“Our story is about the final chapter in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life and what must have been the aching for deliverance by the Allies who were rapidly closing in.  We felt our time frame would extract something of the essence of his life and the perspective which he seemed to seek—’the view from below’.  This view now includes more uncertainty, wartime cruelty, and vengeance.  Bonhoeffer had traded collegiality with thought leaders like Barth and Niebuhr for companionship with an amazing collection of characters, not all ‘pure in heart.’ Sefton Delmer, our story teller, was proud of his frolicking and perverse propaganda.  Delmer’s admiration of Bonhoeffer was overshadowed by his cynicism toward the ‘opportunistic’ German Resistance. His broadcast had not only been heard extensively but had, he believed, contributed to the war effort.”

 

FROM KEVIN EKVALL – DIRECTOR

“I was asked by Gary Blount to direct this film back in 2013.  We didn’t begin serious work on the film until January of 2014 but during that time I read as much as I could by and about Bonhoeffer.  In addition to doing a tremendous amount of research, Gary had written a treatment of the film and come up with the film’s title.  He wanted to include interviews with Bonhoeffer experts but also start the story from the perspective of a British Intelligence Propaganda team, a daring but intriguing idea.  We decided the movie would be a sort of docudrama.”

“It’s a humbling experience to witness both the passion and effort of those who have been caretakers of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s story.  When Gary Blount first approached me with this project, I knew Bonhoeffer was a gifted writer but had assumed his story rather bland.  I was wrong.  His life spun a fascinating tale that adds veracity to his words.”

 

REVIEWS

“A new documentary rediscovers a World War II campaign that was stranger than nonfiction.”

– Smithsonian Magazine,  April 2017

“Many portrayals of Dietrich Bonhoeffer present him as a heroic Christian martyr who single handedly resisted the Nazis during the 1930s.  Come Before Winter manages to avoid this kind of hagiography and shows us the final days of Bonhoeffer’s life within the context of his family and friends in the resistance—essentially his Sanctorum Communio.  The film remains faithful to the Bonhoeffer of history and current research on the final days of the German resistance.  A must see film!”

– Dr. Jeffrey Gang, Loma Linda University,  School of Religion

“…a touching blend of documentation and life stories…a remarkable monument to the German Resistance!”

– Dr. Christian Weber, Study Secretary, Mission 21, Basel, Switzerland

“Masterfully explores the tragic last chapter of the young theologian’s life.”

– Martin Doblmeier, documentary filmmaker

“Great story! Not preachy.”

– Kelley Carlson, teenaged movie critic

“Living in an age where our own comfort and security seem paramount in the values of so many in our society, Come Before Winter is a powerful affirmation of the eternal values of putting our lives at risk rather than seeking our own.  Rather than choosing the comfort of living in the United States, Bonhoeffer chose to return to Germany.  The example of his life speaks to us today through this evocative documentary.”

– Richard Osborn,  Vice President,  WASC Senior College and University Commission

 

CAST

Gus Lynch (DIETRICH BONHOEFFER)

Gus Lynch was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and was raised in New York City. His first language was Spanish. He currently resides in Los Angeles while pursuing his acting career.

 

Aubrey Wakeling (SEFTON DELMER)

Aubrey Wakeling was born in St Albans, England. Classically trained, he has numerous film and TV credits to his name, including the lead in the Emmy winning Power of Art (BBC). He has lived in Los Angeles, California since 2010.

 

Rebecca Summers (VICKI/AGNES BERNELLE)

Rebecca Summers was born in Hampshire, England. She studied theater at Queen Mary's College and screen acting at the International School of Screen Acting in London, UK. She has appeared in many feature films, award winning shorts and international commercials. She made her theatrical debut playing the lead role in the psychological thriller The Spell; followed by The Gridiron, Silent Retreat, The Lovaganza Convoy, Black Hearts and Advantageous. She is currently living in LA.

 

Scotty Ray (IAN FLEMING)

Scotty Ray is an adjunct Professor in Drama at La Sierra University. Scotty holds an MFA in Acting from the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater School at Harvard University and a BA in Mass Communication with minors in drama and religion from Walla Walla University. Improv Training from The Groundlings Theater in Hollywood.

 

Kelly Reed (OTTO JOHN)

L. Kelly Reed is a professor of English at La Sierra University in Riverside, CA. He has been teaching there since 2002 and has been acting on stages for even longer. Come Before Winter is his first feature film. Kelly also edits fiction for Red Adept Publishing.

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