Students to work with WWII documentary production crew in France

Glen Jackson, co-founder of Jackson Spalding and board member of the WWII Foundation, talks with Dean Charles Davis about sending students abroad to film WWII documentaries for PBS. Photo: Sarah E. Freeman

Students to work with WWII documentary production crew in France

May 08, 2023

Grady College students will work side by side with documentarians in the field under an exciting new experiential learning partnership with the World War II Foundation.

Five Grady College students and Sanghoon Lee of the MFA Film, Television and Digital Media faculty will travel to France this summer to serve as production assistants for a World War II documentary that will be filmed for PBS.

The opportunity was introduced to Grady College by Bryan Harris (MA ’03), a part-time faculty member in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, and his friend, Glen Jackson, co-founder of Jackson Spalding Public Relations, who serves on the Board of Directors for the World War II Foundation.

“This is a stellar opportunity for our students to not only gain first-hand experience with an unbelievably high production value, but also to travel and learn history at the same time,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “We are grateful for the opportunity and our hope is to continue this for years to come as a study away experience.”

Jackson serves on the board of the WWII Foundation in honor of his father and Grady College alumnus, Ed Jackson, whose 70th tank division landed on Utah Beach on June 6, 1944. Edward Jackson (ABJ ’47) was a journalism major at UGA. Glen and his brother, Clay, have provided part of the funding for this opportunity for the students and Lee.

The students will travel to several cities in France including Paris, Limoges and Lyon, as well as Geneva, Switzerland, in early July to work on a documentary about the French Resistance. While there, they will serve as production assistants for the film crew. They will have some time to work on their own projects while there.

For one of the students, Emani Saucier, who is in his first year in the MFA Film program, this trip holds special significance since he is a junior officer in the US Army.

“It’s a thrill to adapt my civilian skills to my role in our armed forces,” Saucier said. “Battle lessons from WWII have been used throughout my training and the opportunity to visit some of the war’s campaign locations is more than I can ask for. I’m looking forward to sobering moments as I try to imagine the conflicts that warriors my age and rank faced all those years ago.”

A similar program is offered to students of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at  Syracuse University. The documentary film their students helped produce last summer, “The Tuskegee Airmen: Return to Ramitelli,” recently aired on PBS.

This documentary and the one that will be produced this summer are part of a series of educational films produced by the WWII Foundation, several of which are aired on PBS.