A Bridge Too Far From Hero Street, a film that tells the true story of Pvt. William Sandoval’s involvement in the largest air assault in history, will be presented by Fourth Wall Films and the Putnam Museum in a free online screening on Sunday, July 5th 2:00 p.m. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmakers Kelly and Tammy Rundle. An encore one-hour presentation will stream on Monday, July 6th at 7:00 p.m. Viewers are invited to visit Facebook.com/HeroStreetMovie/ or HeroStreetMovie.com 10 minutes prior to each scheduled event for an introduction.
Born in a boxcar in the Silvis, Illinois rail yard, William performed migrant farm work with his family and later became an accomplished amateur boxer. The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 moved him to enlist in the U.S. Military. At age 20, he completed his training and was assigned to Co. F, 504 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. After extended and harrowing combat action in Italy, William’s unit reformed in England. In September 1944, he became part of the ill-fated Operation Market Garden—still the largest air assault in history, launching 2,023 troop transport planes and 478 gliders from 24 airfields carrying a total of 45,000 men. The day after his 21st birthday, Willie was one of 20,000 paratroopers who jumped into the sky over German occupied Holland.
William wrote to his sister Rufina, “You will never know, sis, how happy I will be when I step onto the doorstep and say, “I’m home, Dad.” That will be the happiest day of my life.”
The Operation Market Garden story was told in the Cornelius Ryan book “A Bridge too Far”, and the 1977 Richard Attenborough directed Hollywood film based on that book. The phrase “a bridge too far” was an alleged quote from Lieutenant-General Frederick Browning in describing the sprawling military endeavor’s failure to take the final bridge at Arnhem, the last means of escape for German forces in the Netherlands.
The death toll was staggering, with 17,000 killed, wounded or missing. William Sandoval was among them. He died on October 6, 1944 near the border of Holland and Germany. His body was never recovered.
The film features military historian John C. McManus, the author of “September Hope: The American Side of A Bridge Too Far”, “Hero Street, USA” author Marc Wilson, and Willie’s family and friends. The soundtrack includes acoustic guitar music by Joe Soliz. His great uncle Claro is one of the Hero Street Eight. Quad Cities’ artist Bruce Walters created original art for the film.
Only a block and a half long, Hero Street in Silvis, Illinois lost six young men in World War II and two in the Korean War, more than any other street in America. Hero Street has provided nearly 200 American military service members since World War II. “A Bridge Too Far From Hero Street” is the third film in a ten-part documentary series that explores the personal and family sagas behind each of the eight heroes from Silvis, Illinois. The Rundles’ Letters Home to Hero Street (co-produced with Lora Adams and WQPT-PBS) received a Mid-America Emmy-nomination.
The Rundles are currently in production on several film projects, including and An Infantryman from Hero Street–the fourth film in the Hero Street, a short museum film for the newly restored Forest Grove Schoolhouse No. 5, a feature-length documentary Resurrecting Forest Grove, and a short documentary Over and Under: Wildlife Crossings funded by the BeWildReWild Fund at Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.
Fourth Wall Films’ award-winning documentary short Good Earth: Awakening the Silent City is an Official Selection at the 2020 Denali Film Festival in Denali National Park, Alaska. The company’s new docudrama Sons & Daughters of Thunder recently received eight award nominations from the Iowa Motion Picture Association, including Best Feature Film, Best Director of Photography, Best Musical Score, Best Actor—Thomas Alan Taylor, Best Actress—Jessica Taylor, Best Supporting Actress—Kimberly Kurtenbach, Best Editing and Best Directing. The film is also an Official Selection at the Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival and The Interrobang Film Festival in Des Moines.
Fourth Wall Films is an award-winning independent film production company formerly located in Los Angeles, and now based in the Illinois/Iowa Quad Cities.