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Bellavia’s war memoir will be made into film by Universal

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 January 2016 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – David Bellavia, a Lyndonville native, addresses the Albion Rotary Club on Thursday.

GAINES – A war memoir by Lyndonville native David Bellavia, detailing his experiences as a staff sergeant in the second battle of Fallujah in Iraq, is being made into a film by Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment.

Bellavia wrote House to House with John R. Bruning, detailing the efforts of front line forces in urban combat against insurgents. Bellavia was part of a campaign that took the heavily fortified city. He was recognized with a Silver Star.

The project as a film had languished in recent years, but became sought after by studios after the success of American Sniper, a film about Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy. The film grossed $350 million domestically and nearly $550 million worldwide.

Bellavia said famed movie director Ron Howard will be a part of the House to House project. Bellavia also said he will be a part of the film’s development and production. He said the film could be released in December 2017. He is hopeful the film will include scenes of Lyndonville, where he grew up as son of local dentist Bill Bellavia.

During the Albion Rotary Club meeting on Thursday, Bellavia was reminded by a Rotarian of his high school starring role in Lyndonville’s musical production of Into The Woods. Bellavia played Jack in the show.

David Bellavia lives in Batavia and now works as a radio talk show host and as an advocate for veterans in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

During his message to the Rotary Club on Thursday, Bellavia said he was in Iraq during their first free elections, and helped guard residents when they went to vote in 2005, in the famous “purple finger” elections. Residents who voted had a finger dipped in purple ink. Images of smiling residents with purple fingers became iconic images around the world.

Bellavia said one woman that day was shot in the stomach and jaw while waiting at the polls. As she lay dying, she insisted she cast a ballot before getting medical care.

Bellavia contrasted that determination with the low turnout at American elections.

In Orleans County, during a hotly contested election season this past November, turnout countywide was 38.2 percent.