Sunday, March 26, 2006

Hello from New Hampshire

Many thanks to Sujewa for extending the generous invitation to contribute to this blog! I've spend the past few days reading it from back to front and, wow! what a great bunch of people!

My name is Deborah Scranton, I'm a filmmaker/director from New Hampshire and my first feature length doc THE WAR TAPES , just got accepted into Tribeca in international doc feature competition. (fingers crossed)

The internet made this participatory film possible. This is the opening post on our film blog/website which seems like it would work as a good introduction here as well:

Welcome to TWT

Here goes…

I’m a film director, single mom, former competitive ski racer, New England farm girl, semiotics major, classics minor, military history neophyte, and -- as of today -- blogger.

February 12, 2004, I got an offer from the New Hampshire National Guard to embed as a filmmaker. I called the public affairs officer and asked if I could give cameras to the soldiers instead? He said yes…but it would be up to me to get soldiers to volunteer to work with the project.

Less than two weeks later I was on plane down to Fort Dix, NJ. I stepped out in front of those 180 men and told them of my vision. I was met with a hailstorm of questions.

Are you for the war,
Are you against the war,
What are your politics,
How are you going to take and twist our words,
What do you want us to film,
Why should we believe you….

At the heart of their questions was - why should we trust you with our experiences? My reply was, we would do this together. We would tell the story, their story, wherever it took us, no matter what.
Directed through near perpetual IM and email. The soldiers would quicktime clips to me from ambushes and self interviews, and we would talk about how best to tell the story, THEIR story. Tapes would take approximately two weeks to get from Iraq to me. Pretty amazing process. Five soldiers filmed their entire year’s deployment with several one-chip high end Sony video cameras. The mounted tripods on gun turrets, inside dashboards and with the POV mounts on their kevlar. They filmed all of the footage in Iraq, over 800 hours of tape. They became cameramen and journalists. We did it together. For more info please check out our website We have five clips up now as well.

The web is a critical partner in our evolving narrative now, as we continue to tell the story, just exactly as Sean Coon noted in a recent post as "a foundation of knowledge; an element that can be built upon with new elements of video, images and text to create an even broader and more reputable narrative thesis.” I really believe that this new model of ‘living’ narrative constructed from a center narrative will reverberate much longer and farther, like the ripples in water displaced by a single stone. At least, that’s my hope. *smile*

So the countdown towards my very first festival begins... who else is going?


Sujewa [Blog Admin] said...

Welcome to the blog Deborah. War Tapes sounds very interesting. The way it was made is interesting too, through direction from a remote location (as fas as I understand the process at the moment). Looking forwards to following your festival & other distro adventures & of course seeing the movie at some point.


Blake Calhoun said...

i just watched a few of the clips on your website. looks interesting. good luck at tribeca.


Scott Hancock said...

Hi Deborah,

Just watched the trailer for "The War Tapes" and it looks amazing. I am sure it will be a hit as well as raise awareness about what this war in Iraq is all about. Its hard to tell from what the media is telling us now. I am also a filmmaker living in NH and also am in love with this wonderful state. I was excited to see you got to work with Steve James. I am a huge fan of his work. Loved "Stevie". Good luck with the film and perhaps someday we will run into each other in NH.

-Scott Hancock

Bob in Nashua said...

Hi Deborah,

What is it like to go to the movies and see a film that you have made? I haven't seen the war tapes yet but I'm planning on going soon.

Bob in Nashua

Doc Rogers said...

I've been looking forward to "the War Tapes" for a long time now. I still haven't seen it, but I've heard from some credible sources (Mountain Company, 3rd PLT) That is was quite good. Several said it was much better than they expected it would be, considering the remote process. Kudos! We all had doubts, but you seemed to have done the improbable. I'm looking forward to witnessing our experience through your editing. I'm still working on my own project. I hope that you will give me some valuable critiqe. That is...someday...if I ever get it finished :)
Anyway I plan to see the war tapes this week. I'll let you know what I think.
- Doc, 3rd Herd.