This documentary began as a collective effort by San Tong, Jesse Epstein, and I along with a number of other NY based filmmakers, who like our subjects, wanted to know what was going on… We conceived of it as a character-driven narrative exploring various perspectives on the Iraq invasion.
After following several subjects, Lorna’s journey to confront the complexities in America and Iraq compelled us to focus on her story alone. She questioned the lack of information on the news, the rush to war, and the divides between left and right. Indeed, while many of us felt paralyzed, overwhelmed and averted our gaze, Lorna refused to let the enemy be dehumanized nor the soldiers forgotten/ignored.
I became heavily, personally invested in the film. I became intimately involved in Lorna’s life and developed an affinity with her. She inspired me to keep looking at the war and at her. I realized that in order to tell her story, I had to wait patiently and allow it to take shape over time.
We filmed from the initial invasion through the most recent “withdrawal”. Her story has become a longitudinal retrospective on the past eight years of the war. Her photos and stories a conduit for Americans’ desire to connect with Iraqis. She helps illuminate the realities of a war often referred to as merely an “occupation,” and the emotional and political disconnect that Americans have experienced/expressed in relation to Iraq.
A combination of verité, personal journal, and interview footage takes viewers on an intimate exploration of the lives of the Iraqis and American soldiers Lorna encounters. In addition to the empathy her images invoke, her conversations, direct to camera, provide the audience with a personal connection to her subjects and her thought process. Mainstream news footage will combine with Lorna’s own reportage to provide the historical context and impetus for the personal stories she seeks out.
Obama recently called America’s role in Iraq one of the most “personal, emotional and global issues” today. Lorna’s impassioned, ideological shift – which we watch happen over eight years, offers viewers a unique, very personal and individual perspective on this historic period.