For as long as I’ve wanted to make films, I’ve wanted to tell Hella’s story.
I’m making a movie about a German immigrant who came to the USA after living through WWII. Hella came not as a war bride, but as a young girl who got a job as the church cleaning lady in the small town of Tilden, Nebraska. She married an American soldier-farmer-police man, became a mother and the school librarian, and never moved back to Germany.
This film is about Hella, because I believe there is value to her story beyond it just being about my grandma. It’s about an immigrant who had kids that grew up to become scientists and nurses and run specialty clothing stores in small towns. Her story is a reminder that many of us are only here because someone came first on a big boat. Also, I think my grandma is just a character.
At least once on every visit to Tilden, Hella would have one of these uncontrollable laughing fits — by the time she’s done the whole room is laughing at or right along with her, you can’t help it. I was happy to capture this one when shooting with her last August.
This should be a Hella good story.