Professor's WWII Documentary Wins 11 Awards

The War at Home
October 11, 2013

It is rare for a film to be produced for only one theater, but this is true of Professor Nina Seavey's new documentary, The War at Home. The mini-doc will be the sole feature of the new theater at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, CA. It has won 11 awards and counting, including four Telly Awards and First Place for Film and Video in the National Association for Interpretation Media National Competition.

The film was commissioned by the National Park Service to show how the United States was transformed during World War II. Seavey and producer John Allen of Signature Communications were tasked with the challenge of distilling four pivotal years into a short movie, which required a creative approach.

"I went ahead and developed a concept for the project, which was really that the entire film would be somehow motivated by radio broadcasts," Seavey explained. "In every community, in every home, in every car, in every part of American life, people got their information through the radio." As the director, she focused the film around this motif to recreate an image of America during the war.

The War at Home alternates between "subjective camera technique" and archival footage. The camera takes on the role of the viewer and moves through an immaculate period-piece set, while the narrator reads excerpts from the diaries of real people. The film switches from recreated rooms in a typical American household to found footage of the war -- showing the contrast between life back in the States and the upheaval overseas.

Because the film will be shown on a big screen every business hour for the indefinite future, Seavey wanted to ensure an engrossing experience. She commissioned the band that creates music for Martin Scorsese's Boardwalk Empire, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, to write songs for the film's score. She also used cutting edge technology like the "red" digital camera to achieve the highest possible picture quality.

"These films have a shelf life that so far surpasses anything, and they are seen on the big screen," Seavey said. "It's a huge challenge to make a film like this because you have to get to the core of the experience without somehow trying to replicate it. It has to have an emotional meaning. It has to grab you by the throat."

The War at Home can only be seen in the theater at Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park. In order to preserve the unique experience, the film will not be available online or for purchase.

The film's many awards are listed below:

  • Silver Telly Award (First Place) in History and Biography, 2013
  • Silver Telly Award (First Place) in Set Design, 2013
  • Silver Telly Award (First Place) in Sound Design and Sound Mix, 2013
  • Bronze Telly Award (Second Place) in Screenwriting, 2013
  • Special Jury Award – World Fest Houston, Best in Film and Video Production, International Competition, 2013
  • Gold Communicator Award (Int’l Academy of the Visual Arts) – Screenwriting, 2013
  • Gold Communicator Award (Int’l Academy of the Visual Arts) - Use of Music in a Film, 2013
  • Silver Communicator Award (Int’l Academy of the Visual Arts) – History/Biography, 2013
  • Silver Communicator Award (Int’l Academy of the Visual Arts) – Set Design, 2013
  • Cine Golden Eagle – Exhibitions and Installations, 2013
  • First Place for Film and Video - National Association for Interpretation Media National Competition