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[infowar.de] PI 14.03.03: Iraq War Plans Include Film Shorts
March 14, 2003
Iraq War Plans Include Film Shorts
By Bob Tourtellotte, Reuters
LOS ANGELES - Lights, camera, action! A helmet and flak jacket would be
very useful, too.
If war breaks out in Iraq, the Navy and Marine Corps said, they will film
soldiers on the front lines and bring their stories to audiences in shorts
similar to the Movietone film reels made during World War II.
The idea, explained Marine Lt. Col. James Kuhn, is to show people the real
images of war and put a human face on the men and women fighting it.
"It's intended to fulfill the Navy and Marine Corps' obligation to maintain
a strong tie to the public, to let them know what we're doing," Kuhn said
Wednesday. "It's an opportunity for people to hear how the soldiers feel
about what they do."
The shorts - which the military hopes will be shown in movie theaters -
will give audiences the chance to see what actually happens in battle:
bullets flying, bombs blasting, and people being put in harm's way.
The Movietone Newsreel Project stems from a roughly five-minute short
titled "Enduring Freedom - The Opening Chapter," that the Navy and Marines
made after the Sept. 11 attacks and the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.
"Enduring Freedom" had a brief run in about 200 Regal Entertainment Group
theaters equipped with digital projection equipment last year. It has since
become a hit at public events, business conferences and seminars, Kuhn said.
Lance O'Connor, a partner in the Santa Monica, Calif., firm American Rogue
Films, which trained soldiers with high-definition digital cameras to shoot
the video, said the reels will be similar to documentaries.
"It's not about propaganda, it's about documentary work," he said. "If it
were propaganda, it wouldn't work."
Connor's company put together "Enduring Freedom" and for years has made
promotional spots for the military. The company will edit the new shorts
and try to place them in theaters.
"Enduring Freedom" included live footage of battles in Kandahar,
Afghanistan, O'Connor said. The camera crews for the new effort will also
be in the middle of the action.
"Our guys are going straight to the front... secret operations, Navy SEALs,
whatever is going over on the first tier [of operations], we're going to
film it," he said.
While "hard combat" will be be featured, the troops doing the fighting also
will talk about how they feel about war and about serving their country,
Kuhn said. "It's a story of who these people are and why they do what they do."
A spokeswoman for Regal CineMedia, the Regal division that outfits theaters
with digital projection systems, said her company does not yet have plans
to show the films but is talking with the Navy and Marines about doing so.
"Enduring Freedom" was picked up by Regal last year, in part, to test the
chain's new digital projection equipment. The company pulled the film in
October after patrons complained that footage was too violent.
When Regal executives met with Pentagon officials six weeks ago, they
expressed concern that the new Movietone shorts would be unpopular.
"I don't know that seeing a war up on the big screen," said Cliff Marks,
president of marketing for Regal CineMedia Corp., the high-tech arm of Regal.
"I think they go to the movies to forget about the stress of watching CNN."
Kuhn said the films will be available to the general public, regardless of
whether theaters decide to screen them.
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