Apr. 21, 2019
On Memorial Day, three Biola University alumni released the documentary film “The Unknowns.” The film follows the training of the Sentinels, a group of elite soldiers, stationed at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Alumni Ethan Morse (’12), Matthew Little (’13) and Mark Joseph (’90) produced the film.
“In the film we've really focused on the human element of The Tomb; the training of the Sentinels — which I think makes this documentary interesting for a broad audience, even those that might not have heard of the Tomb,” said Little.
Little who graduated from Biola in 2013 with a degree in cinema and media arts and an emphasis in media management has worked on more than 10 feature films in various capacities. This is the second feature film he has produced.
“Ethan and I were able to put what we learned from Biola's Cinema and Media Arts courses to use in making 'The Unknowns,'” said Little. “The key to the program is fostering a community of learning and creativity, and it was in this community that Ethan and I were able to meet each other and begin to work together. Ethan and I were both still attending Biola when we shot this film a number of years ago, so I would tell current students to start working on their dream projects now.”
Morse was trained as an Airborne Infantryman in the U.S. Army before he was stationed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 2005. During his time as a Sentinel he earned Badge #548 for his dedicated service to The Unknowns. After being honorably discharged in 2006, he attended Fullerton College and then transferred to Biola in 2009 where he studied cinema and media arts while producing for the KTLA Channel 5 morning news show.
Neal Schrodetzki, director of the film, also had the honor of serving as a Sentinel at the Tomb as a U.S. Army veteran. Because of their service at the Tomb, Morse and Schrodetzki were given an unprecedented level of access from the U.S. Army for the filming of their documentary. Their unique positions gave them the ability to show a rare perspective of the rigorous and intricate training process that soldiers must endure in order to be stationed there.
“After spending two and a half years together, we knew we were both getting out to pursue filmmaking in Hollywood. While in the quarters before my last walk, Schrodetzki recorded on the camcorder,” said Morse. “After seeing millions of people visit The Unknowns each year, we knew that we needed to show the world what it was we tomb guards do to honor our nation's fallen heroes.”
The Sentinels guard the tomb 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through snow, heat, and rain to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty and were never identified.
“These Sentinels pursue perfection in every way to honor those that gave their everything for the country — even their identities,” said producer Little.
The new film has already secured a deal with the theatrical distribution company Gathr, which allows people all across the nation to bring the film to their local theaters by request. The film was released in theaters on Memorial Day, May 30, 2016 with more than 70 screenings across the country.
Visit www.theunknownsmovie.com for more information.
Written by Daryn Daniels, iBiola intern. For more information, contact Jenna Loumagne, media relations specialist, at (562) 777-4061 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
media [dot] relations [at] biola [dot] edu