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What I Want You To Know

a film by Catie Foertsch, Travis Weiner and Tommy Furlong

With searing candor, veterans share personal stories from their deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and explore the epic tragedy of their wars.

Executive producers: Travis Weiner and Tommy Furlong
Producer / director: Catie Foertsch

Travis Weiner served with the 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, from 2004-2009. During that time, he deployed twice to Iraq. Both deployments were to rural farmland areas outside of Baghdad. Travis left the army in 2009 as a Sergeant.

Tommy Furlong served as an Infantry Officer with 3rd Battalion 6th Marine Regiment from 2008-2011. During that time he deployed to Marjeh, Afghanistan as a Rifle Platoon Commander, Weapons Platoon Commander and Fire Support Team Leader. Tommy left the Marine Corps in 2011 as a Captain.   

Catie Foertsch is an veteran commercial filmmaker.

Synopsis

After the 9/11 attacks, the United States rallied a great coalition of allies and sent military forces into Afghanistan. Two years later, President George W. Bush told the nation that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and had to be preemptively stopped. Then the US invaded Iraq.

The 13 veterans featured in this film trusted trusted their leaders and believed what they were told about why they needed to go fight and possibly die: to protect America, defend American freedoms, and help the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. But what they found on the ground was shockingly different. The endless cycles of searching for IEDs and getting blown up. The raids against civilians in their homes that terrorized women and children, and turned more civilians into insurgents. The anger civilians felt against US troops as Iraqi and Afghan men, women and children were killed or maimed, by insurgents, the Taliban, or in some cases by US troops and US airstrikes. The despair and anger US troops felt as buddies were injured or killed and civilians turned their backs. For twenty years, the wars and the carnage rolled on. The inescapable conclusion these veterans faced day after day was that the lessons of Vietnam had been forgotten.

The veterans in this film, like so many other veterans of these wars, brought home physical and mental injuries that will be lifelong. They also suffered moral injuries from the terrible things they saw and did, and from their sense of having been betrayed by their leaders. Their suffering is compounded by questions they can’t stop asking themselves, even as people thank them for their service and tell them they’re heroes: Why were we lied to? What was it all for? What’s to stop it from happening again?

What I Want You To Know is a courageous and unblinking look at the cost and consequences of war, and the moral tragedy of sending America’s young men and women to fight wars their country has no need to fight.

 

Status

We began production in 2018 and completed the film in Spring 2023. Currently we’re entering festivals and developing an impact campaign to connect the film with communities that are interested in its message, including veterans and veteran families, mental health professionals interested in veteran mental health and moral injury, and those who questioned the wars or are interested in social justice and human rights. You can find out more about the film on our website (link = https://www.WhatIWantYouToKnow-film.com )

Associated Members

Catie Foertsch, Independent Filmmaker

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We are grateful for the generous support of our sponsors:

Massachusetts Cultural Council
Lowel Cultural Council
Cabot Family Charitable Trust
Liberty Mutual Foundation
City of Boston Arts and Culture