Press

“THIS IS WHERE WE TAKE OUR STAND”

Special Benefit Screening of New Documentary
About Iraq Vets Who Spoke Out Against the War,
With Filmmakers and Subjects in Person
Wednesday, February 1 at 7:00pm at IFC Center

Proceeds Support Iraq Veterans Against the War

“This is Where We Take Our Stand,” a new documentary about vets who spoke out against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, will be screened as a special benefit for Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) at IFC Center on Wednesday, February 1 at 7:00 P.M. Directed by David Zeiger (Sir, No Sir) and Mike Majoris and Bestor Cram (Unfinished Symphony) and made with the support from ITVS and CPB, the film is based upon a six-part series that premiered online. Following the screening the filmmakers and IVAW members profiled in the documentary will take part in an on-stage discussion.

“This is Where We Take Our Stand” is the story of hundreds of veterans who risked everything to publicly tell their accounts of the horrors they witnessed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In March of 2008, two hundred and fifty veterans and active-duty soldiers marked the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by gathering in Washington, DC, to testify from their own experience about the nature of the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. It was chilling, horrifying, and challenging for all who witnessed it. Against tremendous odds, they brought the voices of the veterans themselves into the debate. “This is Where We Take Our Stand” is the inside story of those three days and the courageous men and women who testified—a story that’s as important to tell today as ever. These brave soldiers and veterans are challenging a public silence that runs very deep, underscoring a willingness to accept unspeakable horrors—as long as we don’t know about them.

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) was founded by Iraq war veterans in July 2004 at the annual convention of Veterans for Peace (VFP) in Boston to give a voice to the large number of active duty service people and veterans who are against this war, but are under various pressures to remain silent. This benefit will go towards the IVAW’s continuing efforts to bring home the reality of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tickets are $15.00 general admission, $13.00 seniors, $12.00 IFC Center members.

David Zeiger is available for interviews.

For more information about the film, visit http://thisiswherewetakeourstand.com
For more information about Iraq Veterans Against the War, visit http://ivaw.org
For information about the event or images, contact Harris Dew at 212 924-6789 or hdew@ifccenter.com
IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas at West 3rd Street, box office: 212 924-7771.

 =====

PRESS RELEASE ON AUGUST 10th, 2009

More Than 40,000 Online Viewers Know the Truth…Do You?
Today, View the Third Installment of “This is Where We Take Our Stand,” Groundbreaking Web-Only Series Featuring Soldiers’ and Veterans’ Iraq and Afghanistan War Testimony

Contact:  Linda Cronin-Gross, LCG Communications: 718.853.5568; 917.767.1141; linda@lcgcommunications.com

August 10, 2009 – Los Angeles, CA:  Today, Displaced Films (Sir! No Sir!) and Northern Light Productions (Unfinished Symphony), along with the Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier Project, are launching the third episode of the web series “This is Where We Take Our Stand.”  The series tells the story of last year’s Winter Soldier Iraq/Afghanistan hearings from the inside — going beyond the testimony to the people whose lives, experiences, and struggles made that historic event possible. The six-episode series will be posted consecutively, every two weeks, throughout the summer.  More than 40,000 have experienced the trailer and first two episodes… and the number grows daily.

In March 2008, 250 veterans and active duty soldiers marked the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by gathering in Washington, DC, to testify from their own experience about the nature of the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. Episodes One and Two presented some of the most moving and intense testimony and, today, Episode Three tells the riveting story of the veterans’ struggle to make Winter Soldier a reality.

David Zeiger, Director of Sir! No Sir’ (the 2006 film that told the suppressed story of the GI Movement to end the Vietnam War), and this series, said, “It was chilling, horrifying, and challenging for all who witnessed the testimony.  This story is as relevant now as it was one year ago, and we hope that the series will kickstart the debate about these wars that has virtually disappeared since Barack Obama became President.”

Perry O’Brien, a former medic in Afghanistan and spokesperson for the Iraq Veterans Against the War Winter Soldier Project said, “Watch the series; spread it far and wide.  Then add your voice. If you are a veteran or active duty, present your own testimony. If you are not, then do whatever you can to join and fan the flames of debate. As the Occupation of Afghanistan is expanded and little changes in Iraq, the voices and stories of Winter Soldier are needed more than ever.”

Three more episodes will be posted throughout the summer.

=====

Some Questions and Answers

Q – “This is Where We Take Our Stand” is a film about 2008’s Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan hearings, where our soldiers talked about their war experiences. What makes this movie unique?

We had exclusive access to the entire process of IVAW planning for and making this event happen, along with all of the struggles people went through – political, emotional, psychological. The series takes viewers to places they cannot go by just watching the testimony, which in itself is incredibly powerful. It takes you into lives that have been forever changed by the past six years of war. To truly understand the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan you need to hear what these soldiers have to say.

Q – Since the hearings, the country has gone from the leadership of President Bush to the new leadership of President Obama. Doesn’t that mean that a lot of the soldiers’ concerns will be taken care of? Isn’t this the dawn of a new, and potentially, better day as far as US policy regarding war?

Where’s the debate? Are we watching passively while Barack Obama carries out the same policies of George W. Bush?

When an American bombing raid this May killed over two hundred civilians in a village in Afghanistan, it was met with a deafening silence. When Obama’s promised “withdrawal” from Iraq leaves 130,000 troops there for at least two more years and 50,000 permanently, it’s hailed as an end to the occupation. And who is demanding to know just what the mission really is when 30,000 more troops are sent to Afghanistan? Whatever your opinion may be; we think that everyone in this country deserves a full debate about these policies.

Q – Many people would agree, at this point, that the war/occupation in Iraq was a mistake.  But isn’t it a different situation with Afghanistan?

What is explored and confronted at the Winter Soldier hearings and in this series are the policies behind both of these occupations. Are they really different? And as Geoff Millard says in the film, what does it mean to “win” an occupation?

Q – Who gave the money to make the movie? Is this a collaborative effort?

The film was shot with the support of many people who had supported and were influenced by “Sir! No Sir!” Locker Associates played a key role in financing the filming, and we received thousands of dollars from individual contributions. The web series is supported by the Fledgling Fund, which supports films and outreach efforts that aim at confronting the pressing social issues of this country.

Q – Why did the filmmakers decide to show this movie in “webisodes” only on the internet rather than to show it in the traditional way – at movie theaters?

The web is the most immediate and interactive of all forms of media today. We want the series to be a living thing, one that people actively engage with while it is being presented – by soldiers and veterans adding their own testimony, by everyone commenting on and debating the episodes.

Q – Why is it important for the American people to hear from soldiers?  Doesn’t the military brass really speak for America’s military?

The soldiers are the ones who are ordered to carry out the policies of the government and military. They are the only ones who are forced to directly confront the realities and consequences of those policies. They are the only ones whose boots are actually on the ground.  We shouldn’t ignore them and their vast experience.

Q – Doesn’t it help our enemies when we talk publicly about our military and what some view as its mistakes and shortcomings?  Won’t this series make it harder for our military to do its job?

The real question is, what is the military’s job, and should it continue? It was recently revealed that all of the U.S. run prisons in Iraq had conditions and policies similar to Abu Ghraib. I remember hearing Camilo Mejia testify about that very fact (he was a guard at one of the prisons) in his 2004 court martial for refusing redeployment to Iraq. Shouldn’t that have been known and publicized at the time?

Q – What do you hope viewers of this movie will come away with?

We hope they’ll have a sense that it is everyone’s responsibility to confront the wars that are being carried out in our name, no matter who is president.