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A documentary about a little-known piece of World War II history won over audiences at the recent Moab International Film Festival.
"The Ghost Army," a documentary made for PBS by filmmaker Rick Beyer, won the Audience Appeal Award at the inaugural festival, held Sept. 20-23 in the red-rock Utah town.
Beyer's documentary highlighted the strange-but-true story of American soldiers who duped the Germans into chasing after enemy troops that didn't exist using inflatable tanks, faked radio messages, sound effects and impersonation.
Among the GIs featured in the film is Stan Nance, now 92 and a lifelong Salt Lake City resident. In the film, Nance talked about the Ghost Army's importance, saying, "if one mother, or one new bride, was spared the agony of hanging a gold star in her window, that's what the Ghost Army was all about."
The Audience Appeal Award goes to a film that "brought in a large and varied audience with the broadest range of appeal," festival organizers said.
Beyer said, in a statement, "considering the quality of the other films at the festival, I was surprised and grateful that we were honored with this award."