02 April 2012

Coming Soon: A 'Red Bull' Feature Film!

"Memorial Day," a Minnesota-based feature film starring Jonathan Bennett, James Cromwell and his son John Cromwell will be released to video on Memorial Day 2012. It is available for pre-order through Amazon as DVD and Blu-ray, and ships May 29.

Originally titled "Souvenirs" and filmed in 2010-2011 by a Minnesota-based production company, the movie alternates between the fictional stories of U.S. Army Lt. Bud Vogel, an 82nd Airborne Division "All-American" soldier fighting in World War II Holland, and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kyle Vogel, a Minnesota Army National Guard "Red Bull" soldier fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The narrative is driven by a front-porch conversation between grandson and grandfather that takes place on a summer day, after the 13-year-old boy finds a G.I. footlocker full of memorabilia.

In the "Memorial Day" publicity trailer, James Cromwell's character tells his grandson:

I didn't loot. And I didn't steal. I collected things that would help me remember. What I didn't count on was: They don't let you forget. 
You found the footlocker, Kyle, so ... I'll make a deal with you. Pick any three, and I'll tell you the story behind each one. God willing, you won't have to experience any of these things yourself. But if you do, you'll be ready.
The movie premiered to an audience of Minnesota National Guard personnel and families Sat., March 31, at Riverview Theater, Minneapolis. It was also simulcast to five overseas locations, where 23 citizen-soldiers who were background actors are currently deployed with the 1st Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division (1-34th BCT). The unit of approximately 2,700 members is nearing the completion of a 2011 deployment to Iraq and Kuwait.

A total of 39 Red Bull citizen-soldiers—the equivalent of an Army platoon—were "extras" during filming of "Memorial Day." Still more Minnesota Air and Army National Guard personnel supported the movie's production with time, expertise, and equipment.

In World War I, the 34th Infantry Division (34th Inf. Div.) was first organized with U.S. National Guard troops from North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. The unit was then nicknamed the "Sandstorm" Division, although the distinctive "Red Bull" shoulder-sleeve patch was created during this time. The patch, designed by 34th Inf. Div. soldier and Regionalist painter Marvin Cone, depicts a red bovine skull superimposed on a black water jug. The unit officially took on the "Red Bull" moniker during World War II. On modern battle dress uniforms, the patch variously appears in subdued colors of olive, tan, or sage.

In the "Memorial Day" film, the black-and-sage Army Combat Uniform "Red Bull" patch really pops off the silver screen. And any Red Bull soldier and buff—past, present, and this one included—is likely to thrill at the sight of so many "steak sandwiches" running around. There's even a line of dialogue that calls attention to the patch!

Coming soon: A Red Bull Rising blog review of "Memorial Day"!

Disclosure: The Red Bull Rising blog received a copy of this film for review.



The official movie website is here. There's a publicity trailer posted there.

There's also a blog written by screenwriter Marc Conklin here.

And a Facebook page here.

And Twitter here.

There will be limited screenings and festival showings leading up to the May 29 release date, including a spot at the 2012 G.I. Film Festival in Washington D.C. on May 19.

The film will also be shown as part of the 2012 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, April 21, at the St. Anthony Main theater. The three-week festival is billed as "a celebration of independent filmmaking from around the globe will include some 250 documentary, narrative, and short films from more than 60 countries," including those made in Minnesota. Click here for festival details.

The film will be shown at the Newport Beach Film Festival on Sat., April 28 at 3:45 p.m., Triangle Square 6, Costa Mesa, Calif. Click here for festival details.

Or, as previously mentioned, pre-order the movie through Amazon as DVD and Blu-ray. The discs ship May 29—the day after Memorial Day.



"Filmmakers turn Minnesota into a war zone," Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Jan. 19, 2011

"‘Souvenirs’ almost a wrap: Movie filming turns game preserve into WWII Holland," Mankato (Minn.) Free Press Oct. 3, 2010

"Minnesota's Red Bulls to be brought to screen in 'Souvenirs'" St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press via Minnesota Public Radio, July 26, 2010
July 26, 2010

"Movie featuring Minnesota National Guard films in Mankato," Minnesota National Guard news release date July 24, 2010

"Unlikely film-maker hopes to put the Valley on the big screen: ‘Souvenirs’ is a family drama with a military backdrop" Mankato (Minn.) Free Press, July 4, 2010

Some making-of videos of "Memorial Day" (then known as "Souvenirs") involving WWII re-enactors are available on YouTube here, here, and here.


  1. They were going to make a movie about the 2nd battle of Fallujah, and have Harrison Ford play me....then they saw me...and figured Chevy Chase would be more correct.

  2. They keep casting Dan Ackroyd to play me in the movies. What's up with that?

  3. At least they can find someone to play you - since he passing of Ted Cassidy, there's nobody that fits for me.


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