The documentary "To What Remains," set to be released in theaters on Dec. 10, follows the mission of Project Recover, a team of scientists, archaeologists, oceanographers, historians and military veterans who are searching for and recovering the remains of Americans missing in action.
There are still more than 80,000 MIAs since World War II. It's a daunting task, but the Project Recover team has completed more than 60 missions and located more than 50 aircraft that were associated with more than 185 of those missions.
We've got a first look at the movie's trailer.
The movie follows the team as it discovers wreckage on the sea floor in the South Pacific and takes its discovery to an overwhelmed family in middle America. The fate of the missing weighs on their families, and the filmmakers want to share just how important this work can be to those whose fathers or brothers never came home.
The movie tells a complicated detective story. The Project Recover team searches military action reports to identify locations where U.S. servicemen were killed and bring modern technology to bear on the missing, using underwater drones to identify potential sites. They follow up with scuba dives and archaeological digs.
The process can take years for a single recovery, and the mission requires a dogged dedication to a cause that doesn't get a lot of attention. "To What Remains" aims to rectify that lack of attention.
Project Recover grew from Pat Scannon's efforts to bring home the remains of U.S. troops killed on Palau during WWII. Scannon, a medical doctor and Army veteran, originally called his organization the BentProp Project when he began his search in 1993 and led diving reconnaissance missions for nearly two decades on the island.
Things changed in 2012 when he met oceanographers Mark Moline and Eric Terrill. The two men were studying water flows around Palau, funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research. They had access to sophisticated modern technology and shared their gear and skills with Scannon's efforts.
Dan Friedkin, a businessman and founder of the nonprofit Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation, helped put Project Recover on firm financial footing and commissioned the documentary that would become "To What Remains."
Friedkin also has worked in motion pictures, producing Ridley Scott's "All the Money in the World" and Clint Eastwood's "The Mule." He also directed the excellent World War II drama, "The Last Vermeer."
Chris Woods is a highly experienced filmmaker who was second unit director on such diverse films as "The Sum of All Fears," "The Core" and "Elf." Woods is an accomplished aviator himself, and "To What Remains" is his first documentary feature.
Distributor Abramorama is set to premiere "To What Remains" in theaters just three days after the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Project Recover's mission seems an appropriate tribute to the men and women who died that day.
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