Produced by Uncage the Soul, Mending the Line is the story of a World War II veteran, conservationist and fly-fishing legend who returns to France to see the country during peaceful times and fish the rivers he had seen during the war.
At 90 years old, legendary fly-fisherman and WWII veteran Frank Moore is still a dreamer. In the sunset of his life, Frank savors a 70-year marriage to his wife, Jeanne, and a legacy of fly-fishing and stewardship on the North Umpqua River in Southern Oregon. But Frank is not one to be complacent about a life well lived. In the summer of 2012, he expressed to the team at Uncage the Soul Productions a dream of returning to Normandy, France, to fly-fish the rivers he had crossed as a soldier in the chaotic weeks following his landing at Utah Beach and to share that experience with Jeanne and his 66-year-old son, Frankie. There are few veterans of that era in as good health as Frank — far fewer who have the courage and ability to travel back to France to see the war grounds of their past. In May 2013, Uncage the Soul traveled with Frank, Jeanne, Frankie and a small production crew to film Mending the Line.
It was an extraordinary experience to join Frank and his family on their return to France. Moving nine people and several vans of production equipment across France for two weeks was no small feat and required tremendous logistical, financial and cultural support. The juxtaposition of today’s beautiful French Normandy countryside with the photos, video and stories of those same places in WWII was staggering. We were all swept up in a current that delivered us to remarkable WWII locations and connected us with gracious and ordinary people, who expressed their gratitude and support in extraordinary ways.
Was there fishing? Of course! But it was certainly not about the catching, and it may not have been about the fishing either. It was about “being.” To see Frank and his son walk along a glassy ribbon of water, meandering through serene farmlands, reminded us that the fly-fishing was merely an activity through which a deeper appreciation for life and love could happen.
Mountainfilm Commitment funding has helped us with the digital blending of paired modern and historical WWII video and photography. During production, we sourced archival media taken during WWII and located those exact spots to mirror them through photography and video. By blending these archival and modern scenes, we are able to express how the passage of time has physically changed these places, yet left their character untouched. This juxtaposition serves as a visual reminder of Frank’s living connection to these places and the emotional and physical healing of 69 years.
We produced a 20-minute short of Mending the Line that is traveling with the International Fly Fishing Film Tour (IF4) and have now turned our attention to crafting the feature-length version that will be released this spring. In the meantime, check out the trailer.
—John Waller, Uncage the Soul