Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs to host state premiere of international documentary ‘Dear Sirs’ as Veterans Day event


BATON ROUGE, La.—The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs will host the state premiere of the international documentary “Dear Sirs” on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Manship Theatre at the Shaw Center for the Arts in downtown Baton Rouge. The film chronicles the story of Silvio Pedri’s journey as a prisoner of war in World War II as seen through the eyes of his grandson, Mark Pedri.

“The showing of ‘Dear Sirs’ is more than just an opportunity to gather and watch a film,” said LDVA Secretary Joey Strickland, COL (USA Retired). “The film immerses viewers into the story of a soldier, captured by the German army in France during the Battle of Metz, and shows his journey as he was transported to a number of prison camps across Germany. Our goal is that after viewing the film, family members will begin their own journey chronicling their loved ones military service.”

Tickets are free of charge, but they must be reserved through Manship Theatre. Reservations can be made online at www.manshiptheatre.org/show/dear-sirs-film, or by calling the box office at 225.344.0334 Tuesday through Friday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. All tickets are general admission, and there is a four-ticket limit per reservation.

There will be a reception from 5-6:15 p.m. prior to the viewing of the film at 6:30 p.m. During the reception, in the main lobby, guests will have an opportunity to speak to representatives from the LSU Library’s T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History and the Louisiana State Archives, as well as staff from the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. LSU staff will be able to discuss their partnership with LDVA and the Library of Congress to memorialize veterans’ stories through oral history. Archives staff will be on hand to educate guests about how to properly handle and preserve artifacts such as documents and photographs.

In the theatre’s foyer, guests can view a military-themed display from the Louisiana State Archives including several World War I propaganda posters. Upstairs in the gallery, there will be refreshments along with an exhibit by the Archives showcasing Louisiana veterans including original documents, uniforms and other memorabilia. After the film viewing, Mark Pedri, along with film producer Carrie McCarthy, will hold a Q&A session. Concessions are available in the theatre foyer.

“Dear Sirs” has been screened at film festivals, museums, conferences, universities, high schools, cultural centers and U.S. military bases across the country and around the world. As a testament to the power of the story told in “Dear Sirs,” the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and Paris have both sponsored screening tours of the film, and it was featured as the opening film for the 2022 GI Film Festival in San Diego and awarded the prize for Best Documentary Feature.

Mark Pedri is an expedition-based documentary filmmaker and writer from Rock Springs, Wyo. Carrie McCarthy, PhD is a scientist turned producer who got her start working as a scientific film consultant while she worked as a materials chemist researcher at the University of Southern California. Together they run Burning Torch Productions, which is an independent film production company that focuses on character-driven stories from the backcountry and backroads of the world. Their films have played at international festivals, on national PBS and major streaming platforms.


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