San Francisco, CA — Close to nine years after the first raid was launched, Afghanistan is now America's longest war. How will it end? Camp Victory, Afghanistan, a new documentary directed by Carol Dysinger, is the first film to examine the reality of building a functioning Afghan military — the cornerstone of America’s exit strategy. Using almost 300 hours of footage shot between 2005 and 2010, Camp Victory, Afghanistan achieves astonishing access to the story of a few Afghan officers stationed at Camp Victory, Afghanistan and the continuous rotations of U.S. National Guardsmen assigned as their mentors. These men, both Afghan and American, have the enormous task of building the 207th Corps of the nascent Afghan National Army (ANA) into an institution capable of providing security and stability to a tattered, volatile nation. Camp Victory, Afghanistan will premiere on PBS during the months of August and September 2010 (Check local listings).
The story begins with Afghan General Fazaludin Sayar. He has been fighting on the front lines for all of Afghanistan’s 30 years of war, and yet, he has a deep hunger, and some hope, for peace. Despite his well-earned wariness of foreigners, Sayar is determined to make a modern national army with or in spite of his ever-changing cast of American "mentors." The U.S. National Guardsmen tasked to “teach coach and mentor “ the ANA, find themselves shorthanded, underfunded, and frustrated by their orders to teach an army while it is fighting. They call it “building the airplane while flying”. Then Colonel Mike Shute arrives, a lifelong Guardsman and the father of two sons who served in Iraq. Shute is a commander who has not seen conflict, but he knows how to run an army. He does what no one has taken the time to do: He sits and listens to Sayar. Sayar’s incredible story, the story of a frontline soldier in Afghanistan, unfolds. Intimate, and revealing, a conversation begins, and a friendship, born out of mutual respect between soldiers, is formed.
Over the year of his deployment, Shute and Sayar work together to mold a group of unmotivated and illiterate enlistees into and a functioning army, and find they have more in common than anyone might expect.
But can a modern Afghan army be created when 80 percent of the enlistees are illiterate, all are impoverished, the weaponry is second rate, and the enemy is elusive, dangerous, and lawless? Sayar comes to trust America’s intentions through his deep friendship with Col. Shute, but can Shute deliver?
Camp Victory, Afghanistan, is not about the “bang bang” of the war, but about the slow careful work of nation building. Without any preaching or opinion, with incredible access and enormous patience, the film gives the viewer an opportunity to see the reality on the ground and make up their minds for themselves. This is a story about people, about policy made human. It is a story of what happens between the best of men, in the worst of circumstances. It is also a thoughtful, penetrating and humane exploration of how we might learn to redefine victory.
About the Filmmakers
CAROL DYSINGER (Director) is a filmmaker based in New York City. She began her career editing music videos for The Clash and winning awards for her short narrative work. She rocketed between writing features, and editing fiction and documentaries for the past 25 years. Her editing credits include: the Emmy-nominated documentary film Deadline (Katy Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson, directors, Arts Engine Production@; Sundance Film Festival; NBC 2004); Rain (Martin Scorsese, executive producer; Katherine Lindberg, director; starring Melora Walters; Sundance Film Festival; Venice Film Festival); the Emmy-nominated documentary film Punk; and Santitos ( John Sayles, executive producer, Alejandro Springall, director; Sundance Film Festival and others). Her screenwriting credits include work for Disney (Christmas Star) , 20th Century Fox (My Family) and HBO Independent (Burntown). She is a member of Writer’s Guild West. Dysinger has served as a consultant for a variety of documentary films, feature films and has served as a mentor for IFC and others. As a result of her extensive research for Camp Victory, Afghanistan, she is currently a Fellow at the Center on Law and Security at NYU Law School. Dysinger is a professor of Graduate Film and New Media at NYU Film School in the Tisch School of the Arts.
JEFFREY LEVY-HINTE (Producer) is president of Antidote International Films, Inc., based in New York City. Levy-Hinte’s most recently produced The Kids Are All Right, written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, and starring Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, and Mark Ruffalo. The Kids Are All Right had its world premiere at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and went on to screen at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film. The Kids Are All Right is currently in domestic release through Focus Features. He is the director and producer of Soul Power, and produced The Dungeon Masters, both of which premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, and played. Levy-Hinte produced Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, a documentary directed by Marina Zenovich. Winner of the Documentary Editing Award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, the film was released domestically by HBO and THINK Films and internationally through The Weinstein Company and the BBC.
He is the producer of the critically acclaimed eco-horror thriller, The Last Winter and the documentary BOMB IT, a comprehensive investigation of graffiti, covering street art from all around the world. Levy-Hinte's Mysterious Skin screened at the 2004 Venice and Toronto Film Festivals and the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. Levy-Hinte's other productions include The Hawk Is Dying, adapted from Harry Crews's novel and directed by Julian Goldberger; Thirteen, directed by Catherine Hardwicke; as well as Laurel Canyon and High Art, both of which were written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko.
Born in Santa Monica, California, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte is a graduate of Cal State, Northridge and the University of Michigan, and is Board Chair for Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), based in New York City.
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