Sound and Film and a Combat Medic

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing…

Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss.

Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss. B Company, 1st Battalion, 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division.

…and the Oscar goes to…the team of Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace for their work on Hacksaw Ridge the story of American soldier and conscientious objector Desmond Doss.

The story of Desmond Doss was a familiar one to me and the Mel Gibson film certainly did not disappoint. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Desmond Doss served his country but refused to carry a weapon. For his actions in saving the lives of 75 infantrymen during the Battle of Okinawa at the Maeda Escarpment (Hacksaw Ridge) Doss was awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest award for gallantry in the United States of America.

William Harold Coltman VC, DCM and Bar, MM and Bar. Stretcher bearer, North Staffordshire Regiment.

William Harold Coltman VC, DCM and Bar, MM and Bar. Stretcher bearer, North Staffordshire Regiment.

Doss’ story reminds me of another well known Great War soldier who would not take up arms, but served his unit, like Doss, as a combat medic. William Harold Coltman was awarded the Military Medal and Bar, the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Bar as well as the Victoria Cross.

…oh so many stories one could tell.

About The Author

In April 2007 Paul met Casey and Ian Williams of the Paradigm Motion Picture Company in Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul has been working with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company team since 2009. Paul began watching films at Canadian forces stations at Zweibrucken, Germany and then on the island of Sardinia. Returning to Canada in 1967 it was at Halifax, Nova Scotia where Paul first saw David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia". It is from this film that Paul became increasingly interested in storytelling, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. This was further enhanced by the introductory whistle soundtrack, complete with sounds from the jungle, birds and insects, from Lean's "Bridge on the River Kwai" and the stunning performance of Alec Guinness. Several years later, at the University of Victoria, Paul's film interests were further cultivated when the University's only available film course studied and compared the classic films of Japan and Australia. It is from this study that Paul became interested in Australian film leading him to Peter Weir's "Gallipoli" (1981) and later learning that Weir visited this historic site. That film alone started Paul on his journey to many home fronts and sites of conflict including England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and the Gallipoli Peninsula. In more recent years the work of documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", in which Paul sees the need for a similar storytelling of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, and Tolga Ornek's "Gallipoli" have been great sources of inspiration. Paul has often been told he thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm a keen and sensitive interest in the development of content, an understanding of the successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Having worked in the museum and archives fields Paul believes that exhibitions are similar to film, story driven with strong content and further believes "You cannot have a beautiful exhibit or film about nothing." Like his favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, Paul believes “To deepen not broaden.” It is from this gathering of experiences that Paul continues along his path, recalling all the while his grandmother, whose father did not return from the Great War, how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to inspire him.


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