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Soldier ( working title)

A video history project by Louise Rubacky and Perry Pickert

SOLDIER is a non-partisan public interest video history project. Filming women and men veterans from all over the U.S. and from diverse backgrounds, we ask what each expected from and/or understood about military deployment before enlisting, and how that matched up to their experiences.

Within this framing, we inquire about the factors that led each soldier to enlist and/or the recruitment experience, as well as how much time went into the decision to join the military. We ask each about their physical and mental transitions during boot camp and deployment, and if they felt prepared for war zone service and returning home. Finally, we ask each veteran what s/he would tell a young person considering enlisting in the military.

The U.S. has been at war for 15 years, with volunteer forces. If young people are to fully understand the complex experiences soldiers face before, during, and after deployment, soldier stories must be made easily and widely available to the public.

Many of the soldiers we plan to film are from units deployed since 9/11, but we also talk to soldiers who were deployed in earlier wars.

STATUS

We have filmed over 13 hours of interviews, and recorded another several hours of audio pre-interviews. After completing a sample reel, we will work on fundraising for continuance and expansion. Other veterans across the U.S. have agreed to be filmed, which we will do as funding allows. Through these and other contacts, we will continue to connect with more veterans whose stories we can film.

A website dedicated to the video archive is planned, and we have begun building a network of websites for cross-linking, so the site can be found and shared easily. Once the archive is diversely and regionally representative of our country, we will work on funding to begin filming international war veterans for inclusion in our archive and multi-platform availability.

Of the veterans we have spoken to, a number are participating in some form of artistic work or community engagement that deals with their wartime experiences, and we will also discuss the possibility of integrating these commemorations with permission.

We also sense that a feature length documentary film will emerge from the material, possibly on artistic responses to war service, but we cannot project its shape at this stage.

We expect that SOLDIER will be a long-term project.

Associated Members

Louise Rubacky

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Perry Pickert

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