Filmmaker Mark Pedri had never heard his grandfather Silvio’s story despite spending nearly every day together for 10 years. It wasn’t until after Silvio’s death that Mark found an archive of old photos, letters, and documents detailing Silvio’s journey as a Prisoner of War (POW) in World War II. The discovery inspired Mark to bike over 500 miles across Europe, following the original Prisoner of War transportation routes, in an effort to tell his grandfather’s story and better understand the man who helped raise him. Dear Sirs tells a personal history of WWII through a contemporary lens that helps bridge the gaps between generations. While the film captures this important moment in history, it also shows the importance of oral history, intergenerational connections, and the lingering impacts of war.
Dear Sirs has proven to be a catalyst to bring veterans together with their families, friends, and communities to connect and feel seen. It has been used as a tool to not only educate audiences about the prisoner of war's experience, but it's also a jumping off point to discuss war in the modern context. The film has been invited to screen at film festivals, museums, conferences, universities, high schools, cultural centers, and US military bases across the country and around the world. As a testament to the power of the story told in Dear Sirs, the US Embassy in Berlin and Paris have both sponsored screening tours of the film, and it was featured as the opening film for the 2022 GI Film Festival in San Diego and was awarded the prize for Best Documentary Feature. Dear Sirs will have its national PBS premiere in November 2023.