Sundance Film Festival follow up: HELL AND BACK AGAIN

Article: Sundance Film Festival follow up: HELL AND BACK AGAIN

Well, the Oscars got something right. Though they overlooked Sundance 2011’s other top doc HOW TO DIE IN OREGON, HELL AND BACK AGAIN is on this year’s shortlist.

Director Danfung Dennis documents the story of 25-year-old Nathan Harris, a Marine Corps sergeant who was severely injured in Afghanistan. The film follows his recovery and transition back to life back home in North Carolina. Cut jarringly with Dennis’s own footage from behind enemy lines in Afghanistan, HELL delivers a violent jolt back home. This winner of Sundance’s World Cinema Jury Prize and World Cinema Cinematography Award is still in theaters, so if you haven’t seen it yet, go now.

Q&A With Sebastian Junger

Article: Q&A With Sebastian Junger

DreamStates: Sebastian Junger Animation by Cole Gerst

Sebastian Junger is busy on a book tour promoting his book WAR, now in paperback. The author and filmmaker took time from his busy schedule to chat with me about his Dreamstates episode, seen above.

How were you first approached to take part in DreamStates?

I was told about it by National Geographic. I thought it was a cool idea.

Did you collaborate at all with the illustrator? If so, in what ways?

No I did not. And I think he did a fantastic job! I absolutely loved what he created. It was such a cool experience watching my own dream portrayed visually. It was very cool.

Was there anything that he got 100% right, spot on?

Well I think the characterization of the expanding cartoon monsters was perfect. He really nailed it. It was really spot on.

You said this dream marked a time where you grew up. Have you had other dreams, like or unlike this one, that have repeated or have impacted you?

I mean every once in a while we all have dreams that are devastating. Nothing ever like that though. Nothing with a complete sense of doom and helplessness. It was really a classic midlife issue.

How old were you?

I was 46.

Dreaming with Sebastian Junger: Evil Bubble Monsters

Article: Dreaming with Sebastian Junger: Evil Bubble Monsters

DreamStates: Sebastian Junger Animation by Cole Gerst

Sebastian Junger is an American author, journalist, and documentarian, most famous for the best-selling book The Perfect Storm, his award-winning chronicle of the war in Afghanistan in the 2010 movie RESTREPO, and his 2010 book War. Restrepo won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary. Sebastian co-directed RESTREPO with photo journalist Tim Hetherington, who was killed while on assignment in Misrata, Libya in April 2010.

Sebastian’s dream story for our new web series DreamStates was quite intense. In his dream, he recalls how, while embedded with troops in Afghanistan, his “dream state and reality would often get blended together”. In this very profound dream – Sebastian and his “older brother” are being attacked by incredibly evil and violent “bubble monsters” that just keep coming and won’t stop – with no end in sight. Very scary stuff.

Sundance Channel teamed up with creative agency, Option-G, for the new collaborative animated video series, DreamStates. The series includes interviews with musicians Questlove (The Roots) and Mike Gordon (Phish), actor/comedian Will Forte (Saturday Night Live), actress Malin Akerman (WATCHMEN, COUPLES RETREAT) and writer/documentarian Sebastian Junger (THE PERFECT STORM/RESTREPO).

Bob Woodward's Book "Obama's Wars"

Article: Bob Woodward's Book "Obama's Wars"

On Monday 9/27, Bob Woodward’s latest book Obama’s Wars (Simon & Schuster) will hit bookstores.  Woodward (played by Robert Redford in the film ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN) spent 18 months interviewing members of the administration (including President Obama) and poring over internal memos and classified documents to create a behind the scenes account chronicling infighting…

Cost of War

Article: Cost of War

While I don’t like the misleading and false evidence that led us into Iraq, I like the pop colors and styles in artist Dominic Clifford’s kitschy visualization of the cost of our two wars a whole lot more. Check out the artist’s website for some other great (witty) pieces. [Via]

RESTREPO, how’s this for an opening salvo?

Article: RESTREPO, how’s this for an opening salvo?

Still from RESTREPO.

How’s this for an opening salvo? RESTREPO, the first documentary to screen at Sundance 2010, kicks off with a grunt’s-eye view of being caught in a roadside-bomb explosion, and only gets more intense from there. In 2007 and 2008, journalist Sebastian Junger and photographer Tim Hetherington made 10 trips to Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, a six-mile corridor near the Pakistan border, at the time the focal point of the fighting between U.S. forces and the Taliban. A raw, often harrowing piece of frontline reportage, the film uses post-facto interviews with the soldiers to orient the viewers, but mostly, it opts for disorientation — for the surreal ground-level experience of combat, alternating between restless downtime and confusing firefights.

Remembering Hiroshima

Article: Remembering Hiroshima

On a somber note, 64 years ago on this date, a US bomber named “Enola Gay” flew over the city of Hiroshima and its approximate 250,000 residents and dropped the world’s first atomic bomb. An estimated 70,000 people were immediately killed with another 70,000 killed in the aftermath due to radiation exposure and resulting injuries.…

In The Loop – Lost in translation

Article: In The Loop – Lost in translation

I have no doubt that the days before the US declared war on Afghanistan in 2001 were hectic and that accusations and insults were flung about prolifically amongst various government offices. Such is the setting of the political farce IN THE LOOP, which plays out during the final, clamorous days of a war-free United States – from the British perspective. Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) is a bumbling British Secretary of something-or-other who inadvertently gets involved in the war planning after a gaffe during an interview and spends the rest of the film trying to stay afloat amidst a sea of war-hungry American politicians.