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24 October 2006

Zannie Theatre to Host State's Only Screening
of 'The War Tapes'

The War Tapes is a battlefront documentary shot by the soldiers themselves as they fought on the front lines. It will be shown Thursday through Saturday at McClellan's Zannie Theatre, the only theater in the state to show the film.

One of the soldiers featured in the film, Sgt. Zack Bazzi, is scheduled to take part in a question-and-answer session after the film Thursday and Friday, along with Jacksonville State University professor Safaa Al-Hamdani, who is organizer of the Anniston Islamic Center and who has family in Iraq.

It was the director, Deborah Scranton, who came up with the idea for "The War Tapes" and edited the raw footage into the final film. Scranton says she wanted to bring the audience inside the experience of war, wanting everyone to know what war looks like, smells like and feels like for those serving in Iraq.

“There is a tremendous disconnect in our country between those who actually know a soldier and those who don't,” she says from her home in the mountains of New Hampshire. “So this film offers a unique glimpse into the lives that most of us simply cannot appreciate.

The documentary is powerful, according to Lori Ryan, creative director at the Buckner Arts & Exhibit Center, Zannie Theatre's home.

“The world is getting smaller as technology advances,” she says, “making everything more immediate, including the horrors of war.”

The 94-minute film focuses on the lives of five New Hampshire National Guard troops who, via digital camera footage and “perpetual” e-mail exchanges with Scranton, chronicled their 2004 deployment within the vicious Sunni Triangle of Iraq. Rather than using news footage from embedded journalists, "The War Tapes" gives audiences a front-row seat in the lives of the soldiers in the Third Battalion of the 172nd Infantry Regiment of the New Hampshire National Guard.

While the most gripping footage takes place during combat — including the bloody house-to-house battle in November 2004 to take the city of Fallujah — the film also captures insight into the psyches of those fighting on the frontlines.

The War Tapes, despite its obviously haunting subject matter, is not without its lighter moments, capturing the laughter, the jokes and the camaraderie shared among the soldiers, Scranton says.

Back on the home front, the professional filmmakers amassed more than 200 hours worth of interviews with the loved ones left behind, giving "The War Tapes" its full perspective.

It is this complete look that has earned "The War Tapes" acclaim from military circles as well.

See story at The Anniston Star's website: .

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