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Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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Reggie Ruth Barrett | Courtesy Moab International Film Festival Rick Beyer, director of "The Ghost Army," takes questions after a screening of his film at Star Hall in Moab, during the Moab International Film Festival.
‘Ghost Army’ doc a hit with audiences at Moab festival

A documentary about a little-known piece of World War II history won over audiences at the recent Moab International Film Festival.

"The Ghost Army," a documentary made for PBS by filmmaker Rick Beyer, won the Audience Appeal Award at the inaugural festival, held Sept. 20-23 in the red-rock Utah town.

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Beyer’s documentary highlighted the strange-but-true story of American soldiers who duped the Germans into chasing after enemy troops that didn’t exist — using inflatable tanks, faked radio messages, sound effects and impersonation.

Among the GIs featured in the film is Stan Nance, now 92 and a lifelong Salt Lake City resident. In the film, Nance talked about the Ghost Army’s importance, saying, "if one mother, or one new bride, was spared the agony of hanging a gold star in her window, that’s what the Ghost Army was all about."

The Audience Appeal Award goes to a film that "brought in a large and varied audience with the broadest range of appeal," festival organizers said.

Beyer said, in a statement, "considering the quality of the other films at the festival, I was surprised and grateful that we were honored with this award."

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