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: www.annistonstar.com
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