The true story of World War II GIs who used inflatable tanks and sound effects records to fool the enemy on the battlefields of Europe.
Thanks to our many incredible backers, we've surpassed our goal. Now we're in the bonus round! Additional donations will go towards additional shooting, map animation, and other post-production needs. Every dollar you give brings us closer to finishing this film and telling this amazing story. Thank you so much.
I'm Rick Beyer, a documentary filmmaker and author with a passion for history. I’ve written a series of five history books called The Greatest Stories Never Told, and produced documentary films for The History Channel, the Smithsonian, and National Geographic Channel.
This incredible story
Five years ago I came across an amazing tale - never before told on film - about a hand-picked group of World War II GIs who went to war with paintbrushes, inflatable tanks, and sound effects records to bluff Hitler’s forces in more than twenty front-line deceptions.
Intrigued by this incredible story, I met with Martha Gavin, whose uncle John Jarvie served in the unit. Martha joined me at the Starbucks in Lexington, MA, lugging an armload of three ring binders. That’s when the other shoe dropped.
Her uncle John’s binders were bursting with intimate and revealing sketches and paintings of war-torn Europe from bombed out churches to busy brothels.
Many of those recruited for this top-secret mission were artists. In private moments, they painted and sketched their way across Europe, creating a unique and poignant visual record of their war. This was not just another war story, but a multi-layered tale of artistry, creativity, and humanity.
I was hooked.
Sharing the Passion
Time is running out for these World War II vets. Their story must be told quickly if it is to be told at all. Since no TV network or foundation offered to finance the project, I decided to produce it myself as an independent documentary.
Generous, committed friends raised the start-up money in 2006. I’ve interviewed 20 veterans, five of whom have passed away since then. I scanned hundreds of evocative wartime images from the pages of scrapbooks that hadn’t been touched for decades.
Broadcasters are interested, but there’s a substantial money gap. Foundations are awarding fewer and fewer grants. So it’s time to give The Ghost Army a “Kickstarter.” The money will buy the high resolution WWII footage to get closer to a finished film and put our best foot forward when presenting the film to broadcasters and potential funders.
I feel a sharp pang of regret for the veterans we’ve lost before their story was completed. But what encourages me is the look of awe on people’s faces when they first encounter The Ghost Army story: I’ve met so many people who get it and instantly share my passion for these guys.
We Can Make it Happen
You can help make this happen, not just by raising money that we desperately need, but also by demonstrating grassroots support that will convince broadcast executives The Ghost Army can find an enthusiastic audience.
So please, donate what you can. Kickstarter is "all or nothing funding." You make a pledge with your Amazon account (as small as $1 or as large as your heart and wallet allow). NO money is charged unless ALL the funds are raised. We need every single donation we can get, no matter how small. Donations are tax deductible, and we have prepared a dazzling array of different rewards for different levels of donation.
And if you think this is a story that should be told, please help spread the word. Email your friends, post on Facebook, Tweet, blog—anything and everything that might build our army of Ghost Army supporters.
If we do that, then one day soon, the world will see this story on the screen. The surviving veterans of the Ghost Army will get the recognition they deserve. And you’ll know that you made it happen.
Would that be cool, or what?
The Ghost Army is being made in conjunction with a non-profit organization, so all donations are tax deductible (less the value of the reward received).
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $18,000 goal
seconds to go
May 31, 2011 - Jul 5, 2011 (35 days)
Pledge $15 or more
Unique Ghost Army pin, featuring the unit's unofficial "official" insignia. (These soldiers head no official emblem—they always wore the insignia of the unit they were impersonating. But this is the logo that appeared on the cover of their official US Army History.)
Pledge $50 or more
A DVD of the finished Ghost Army film. This will definitely be a case of delayed gratification: You don’t get the DVD until the film is completed—but you'll still get it ahead of anyone else! Plus two Ghost Army pins.
Pledge $100 or more
A limited edition 8 x 10 color art quality print of Ghost Army artwork. You'll have your choice from some captivating wartime paintings and sketches. Plus DVD and pins.
Pledge $150 or more
An autographed copy of The Greatest War Stories Never Told: 100 tales from military history to astonish, bewilder, and stupefy by Rick Beyer. “Just when we were certain that we knew everything about everything" said the Army Times about this book, "Rick Beyer comes along and ruins it.” That was a compliment--right? Plus DVD, print and pins.
Pledge $250 or more
An exclusive custom-produced Ghost Army Iphoto book, featuring Ghost Army paintings, sketches, and photographs you simply cannot see anywhere else. Plus War Stories book, artwork, DVD and pins.
Pledge $1,000 or more
Two tickets to film premiere and after-party (travel and accommodation not included). When will it happen? Where will it be? Who will be there? I wish we could tell you! But we guarantee you access to everything. Plus Iphoto book, War Stories book, artwork, DVD and pins.
Pledge $2,000 or more
0 backers Limited (2 of 2 left)
An actual inflatable tank with Ghost Army logo that you can pump up in your backyard. It’s not a World War II replica (it is similar to the one the veterans are inflating in the video) but it’s pretty cool nonetheless! Plus tickets, Iphoto book, War Stories book, artwork, DVD and pins. What a package!