Friday, May 12, 2006

The War Tapes

billed as: The War Tapes is a documentary shot by US soldiers from the front lines of Iraq, Director Deborah Scranton had the necessary funding and approval to work as an embedded journalist in the second Iraq war; instead, she went forward with her unique vision—directing a documentary film from the Internet. Ten self-selected soldiers from the New Hampshire National Guard were connected with Deborah, given consumer hand-held camcorders, and briefly trained to use them. The soldiers were then deployed for a one year tour in Iraq, and were in constant contact with Deborah over instant messenger and email.

Speaker: Deborah Scranton The War Tapes

The War Tapes just won the "Best Documentary Feature" award at the Tribeca Film Festival this past weekend.

Scranton equipped the soldiers with cameras and collaborated with them on building a film that reflected what they wanted to show, not what Scranton wanted to show. There was a certain level of trust that had to be built in order for the film to come out.

They found empathy in the middle of war. The soldiers weren't trying to send a message via the film, just to show what was happening.

In response to the question, "What can we do for the soldiers over there?" one of the soldiers in the film said, simply, "Get to know one."

Without instant messaging, the soldiers couldn't have collabroated. Without the inexpensive cameras, the soldiers couldn't have captured their experiences for collaboration. This new model of living narrative can be seen at the War Tapes web site where the conversation and collabroation continue even now.

The first couple minutes of the film are very compelling and quite intense. Luckily, I'll get a chance to see the full film later tonight at the cocktail/demo hour.

Hearing Scranton talk reminds me that I need to reach out to my brother-in-law Mike to see what I can do for the soldiers over there. He's been there. Thankfully, he's not going back (that I know of).

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