ALGONA — A movie based on the World War Two German POW camp near Algona will premiere Friday in Algona and Forest City. The movie “Silent Night in Algona” focuses on the prisoners in Algona from September through December of 1944.
Forest City’s Jim Brockhohn appears in the movie as Uncle Joe. “These three producers from Wisconsin they’ve had to threaten for several years where I’d take it and so they finally got produced. They did film for days here in Forest City and Heritage Park and Heritage Park was gracious enough to donate some uniforms and let let them use the buildings and then we found majority of it in Algona and Whitmer and so is a three week shooting every day except they’re off on Sunday. So we actually started the end of October and then we finished up into towards the end of November.
Brockhohn helped director Tony Hornus cast the parts for the movie– leading to many locals in the cast. “So what I do is I call that person up, see if you’d be interested in doing the film and then I got that actor in contact with Tony and they went from there then,” he says. “They then auditioned for Tony and Tony would select them and the people I did send to him, he did select them all and put them in the movie.”
He says they also asked him to bring some extras and he did that, so there are some of them from Forest City in the movie. Much of the movie was filmed in Heritage Park in Forest City and the original barracks were also in the movie. “The barracks they used have been at Heritage Park for all these years and so — or for many years I’m not sure when they got them — but Heritage Park acquired them, so they took the barracks from here and took them Algona and built the barracks house there and use the original barracks,” Brockhohn says.
Brockhohn says there was a tremendous amount of work put into the attention to detail from uniforms to cars. He says Forest City residents didn’t fill all the spots in the movie. “Even though we had some from Forest City they’ve recruited people from Texas from L.A. from New York and all the states around, and even Wisconsin. And so they had professional actors from all over, it is wonderful,” he says.
The Algona camp housed around 1700 prisoners. A nativity scene created by some of the prisoners while in captivity in Algona in 1945 has drawn visitors to the community for many years.