BIFF YEAR ’ROUND 2019-20
Wed May 29th, 2019 – 6:30 pm | Hendricks Center for the Arts
Tickets at the Door
Sun Mar 3, 2019 – 2:30 pm | Bagels & More
The Six Triple Eight
Directed by James William Theres
U.K. & U.S.A. | 72 min | 2019
This documentary includes interviews with the surviving six members from the 855 women of the SixTripleEight (6888 Central Postal Directory battalion), the first, and only, all-black female battalion sent to Europe during World War II.
Their mission: clear the backlog of over 17 million pieces of mail stuck in warehouses in Birmingham, England and Rouen, France. They faced racism, sexism, and the Nazis. After dodging German U-boats, they arrived in Birmingham in February 1945. They were given six months to complete the mission in each city. Both times they finished in half the time.
The last of the women returned to the United States in March 1946 with little fanfare. Their story was hidden in American military history until now. On November 30, 2018, a monument was dedicated in their honor at Buffalo Soldier Park, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
James William Theres
James William Theres is an award-winning Speechwriter at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington D.C., and an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker. He has received 10 national awards for speech writing, feature writing, event planning and media affairs and numerous awards for his films to include Best Documentary Feature for The Hello Girls at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival and People’s Choice Award at the Beloit International Film Festival. He has a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and an MA in History from Jackson State University. His first film, The 30th of May was based on his graduate research project of the same name. The paper received the prestigious Dr. Margaret Walker Alexander Award at the 10th Annual Creative Arts Festival at Jackson State University. The documentary received 10 awards and appeared on Mississippi Public Television in May 2017.
His second documentary, The Hello Girls, tells the relatively unknown story of 223 American women who were recruited, trained, and sent overseas to serve as telephone operators. They wore Army uniforms and swore Army oaths. They served at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. The last of the women returned home only to be told they weren’t soldiers after all. For 60 years, they fought the U.S. government and finally received their recognition as soldiers and Veterans in 1977. Only 33 were still alive. The Hello Girls has screened at the National Archives in Washington D.C., the World War I Museum in Kansas City, and General Pershing’s former headquarters in Chaumont, France on November 11, 2018, 100 years after the end of the war.
James is currently in production of the Sixth Triple Eight: No Mail, Low Morale about the only all-black female battalion to serve in Europe during World War II.