Press Release
Press Release

“Finding Loren” Film Tells Story of Fighter Pilot Downed Over Italy in World War II and Milwaukee Son and Family Finding Crash Site and Remains 70 Years Later

Documentary By Milwaukee Producer / Director Premiers Sept. 25 at Bradley Symphony Center

By - Aug 26th, 2021 04:19 pm
Finding Loren. Image from film.

Finding Loren. Image from film.

A new documentary film, “Finding Loren,” tells the story of P-47 fighter pilot Loren Hintz shot down and lost at the end of World War II and the effort by his son, Martin Hintz, and his family to find the missing plane and remains, which were recovered 70 years later buried in an Italian farm field.

The premier for the documentary is set for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Bradley Symphony Center, 212 W. Wisconsin Ave. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but donations will be gratefully accepted. Doors open at 12:30 p.m., with complimentary beverages and snacks and self-guided tours of the symphony’s new home available before the screening.

The film was produced and directed by Milwaukee resident Pam Percy. Her late husband Martin Hintz, who was the son of Loren Hintz, laid the foundations for the documentary by raising money and gaining support from politicians, military personnel and historians and hiring a cinematographer to film two trips to Italy.

Hans Wronka, Martin’s nephew and Loren’s grandson, led the recovery project to find the missing plane. Wronka began the effort to find his grandfather’s remains and airplane in 2000 with an internet query that resulted in information 12 years later from Piero Fabbri, a pilot and Italian World War II enthusiast who offered help.

Loren’s plane was finally located and excavated in 2016 after an intensive search and with the help of numerous Italian and stateside researchers, aviators and historians. The searchers found not only his plane, but his remains and dog tags. The recovery was captured on film and marks a high point of the documentary.

After Martin’s death in September 2020, Percy began producing and directing the documentary, extensively researching Loren’s life through his diaries, letters, an autobiography and information from Gretchen Wronka, Loren’s daughter. A script was written and then fine-tuned by the film editor Claudia Looze, who created, the 80-minute documentary.

The film uses Loren’s own words, vintage photographs and archival footage to follow the sweeping trajectory of his life as an Iowa farm boy, a writer and poet in the 1930s, and his courtship and marriage to Gertie Russell. It tells of his four years of military training and the challenges in becoming a fighter pilot. His five months of active duty in Italy are captured by war footage. The movie also shows his courageous war widow forging a new life as a single working mother and raising their two children – Martin, who was not yet born at the time of his father’s death, and Gretchen.

The film ends on a powerful emotional note with Loren finally being laid to rest in November 2019 with full military honors at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy. Forty of Loren’s relatives and stateside friends were accompanied by several hundred civilian dignitaries, local residents, and American and Italian military.

Actor Dion Graham (“The Wire,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “Malcom X”) narrates the film, and Tony Wood is the voice of Loren. Music includes original work by Milwaukee singer-songwriter John Sieger, the band Rachel’s and a commissioned performance of Steve Heitzeg’s “Little Hymn to the Fields” by the Quinto Brass Ensemble from Italy.


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