When Pierette Simpson was nine years old, hergrandparents sold everything in their native Italy to bring her to America. But along the way, The Andrea Doria luxury liner collided with another ship, The Stockholm, and sank. A lifeboat saved Simpson and her family. But 51 people died, and the captain was unjustly blamed for the catastrophe near Cape Cod, Massachusetts on July 25, 1956. Now, as the 60th anniversary of the shipwreck approaches, Pierette Simpson of Novi is shooting a short film that she wrote to commemorate this notorious maritime disaster - and to set the record straight about the beleaguered captain. His last words, "Are the Passengers Saved?" will be immortalized as the title of the film - which will be shot in Metro Detroit on Sunday, June 14, 2015. The rest of the movie will be filmed in July in Simpson's hometown village of Pranzalito, near Torino, Italy. "It has been my mission since 2003 to leave the Andrea Doria legacy for survivors, their families and friends, and for history," says Simpson, author of Alive on the Andrea Doria! The Greatest Sea Rescue in History, as well as a young adult novel called, I Was Shipwrecked on the Andrea Doria! The Titanic of the 1950s. "This legacy must portray the truth about the tragedy-one that lay in the coffers of injustice for nearly 50 years," says Simpson, who is the film's Producer and who will play herself during a final scene. An impressive team of talent will produce the film, including: * Italian Film Director Luca Guardabascio, who will direct and shoot the movie; * Legendary songwriter and fellow survivor, Mike Stoller, who will provide music for the film score along with five notable actors and tenors who sang for ope John II.For filming in Metro Detroit, local actors will re-enact real-life scenes occurring in the 1950s when Simpson and her family settled in Detroit. She attended Wayne State University, followed by graduate work in France. She then pursued her love of foreign languages as a teacher of French and Spanish in the Farmington Public Schools and Detroit Country Day Schools. Her passion for her heritage inspires annual trips to Torino, Italy, where her family resides. Last year she launched a cultural project between Detroit and Torino called "Project Detur" that includes a documentary that she wrote, directed, and produced. Since Simpson is an artist of "Project Detur," her international film adds another dimension. Simpson became the first woman to publish an all-inclusive book about one's shipwreck, recounting both the human and scientific aspects of the collision. Her book was published in Italy by Sperling & Kupfer as L'ultima notte dell'Andrea Doria. This film is yet another of Simpson's pioneering endeavors because it is the first movie to include real shipwreck survivors. Likewise, Simpson is the only shipwreck survivor who has conducted extensive human and scientific research that ultimately vindicated the Captain. She is also the first woman to analyze and publish her shipwreck experience, and she is the first such survivor to write the screenplay, direct, or produced a movie. As an honorary member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME), Simpson co-authored two technical papers on the sinking of the Andrea Doria with chairman, William H. Garzke. She has appeared on American and Italian documentaries and on CBS Sunday Morning. She is interviewed frequently for radio, TV, and print publications that include The New York Times.
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