(San Francisco, CA) — The Kill Team goes behind closed doors to tell the harrowing story of Specialist Adam Winfield, a 21-year-old infantryman in Afghanistan who — with the help of his father — attempted to alert the military to heinous war crimes being committed by his platoon. Tragically, his father's pleas for help went unheeded. Once Adam’s fellow soldiers got wind of what he'd done, they threatened to silence him — permanently. Forced to choose between his conscience and his own survival, Adam found himself drawn into a moral abyss, faced with a split-second decision that would change his life forever. With extraordinary access to the key individuals involved in the case including Adam, his parents, and his startlingly forthright compatriots, The Kill Team is an intimate look at the personal stories so often lost inside the larger coverage of the longest war in U.S. history. Winner of the Best Documentary Feature award at the Tribeca Film Festival and directed by Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Dan Krauss, The Kill Team premieres on Independent Lens on Monday, January 19, 2015, 10:00 to 11:30pm ET on PBS (check local listings).
The film weaves together two parallel storylines, past and present, chronicling Winfield’s unfolding legal story along with recounting of the horrors that took place in Afghanistan. Speaking with an astonishing degree of candor and articulateness, Adam and his fellow soldiers describe a series of increasingly weighty psychological quagmires, each emblemizing the hazy morality of war, where the choices are often clear, but the best decisions seldom are. Visit The Kill Team companion website (http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/kill-team/) which features information about the film, including an interview with the filmmaker, preview clips, and more. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions
About the Filmmaker
Dan Krauss (Director/Producer/Cinematographer) was nominated for an Academy Award and two Emmy Awards for his first film, The Death of Kevin Carter. The film also won prizes from the Tribeca Film Festival, the International Documentary Association, and the San Francisco International Film Festival, among others. Working as a Director of Photography, Krauss has photographed numerous feature documentaries, including Inequality for All (Sundance Film Festival, 2013 – Grand Jury Prize); Broadway Idiot (SXSW, 2013); We Are Legion (SXSW 2012); The Most Dangerous Man in America (Academy Award nomination, 2010); and Life 2.0 (Sundance Film Festival, 2010). In 2012, Krauss received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a fellowship from the Sundance Documentary Institute. Krauss earned his Masters Degree from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he is presently a lecturer in film and television production.
About the Participants
Specialist Adam Winfield is from Cape Coral, Florida, and was 20 years old at the time of the crimes. He joined the army at age 17 and deployed with his unit to Afghanistan in July 2009. After the May 2010 murder of Afghan civilian Mullah Allah Dad, Winfield was charged with premeditated murder, conspiracy, and use of a controlled substance (hashish). He accepted a plea deal carrying a charge of involuntary manslaughter for failing to stop his fellow soldiers from murdering Allah Dad. The deal provided a sentencing cap of eight years, but the judge sentenced him to three years and a bad conduct discharge.
Corporal Jeremy Morlock is from Wasilla, Alaska, and was 21 years old at the time of the crimes. Having been charged with the premeditated murders of three non-combatants, he is considered one of the primary participants in “The Kill Team.” Under the terms of a plea agreement, Morlock’s life sentence was reduced to 24 years and a dishonorable discharge in exchange for his cooperation in the courts-martial of other soldiers.
Private First Class Andrew Holmes is from Boise, Idaho, and was 19 years old at the time of the crimes. Holmes worked directly under the leadership of CPL Morlock and pled to a charge of murder without premeditation; a military judge sentenced Holmes to 15 years and a dishonorable discharge but the plea deal capped Holmes’ sentence at seven.
Private First Class Justin Stoner is from Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Stoner was not charged with any crimes and is widely credited as being the whistle-blower in the Kill Team case, though Stoner disavows that characterization. Members of the platoon assaulted Stoner after he reported hashish use in the platoon to a superior. In the course of investigating that assault, officers learned that Staff Sergeant Gibbs had shown Stoner human fingers to intimidate him. That revelation ultimately led investigators to the murders.
Christopher Winfield is Adam Winfield’s father and lives in Cape Coral, Florida. In February 2010, his son informed him via online chat about the murders in Afghanistan and the threats he had received from members of his platoon. Together, they decided to anonymously alert the military. The online chat between Chris and his son became key evidence in the court-martial of SPC Winfield.
Director and Producer: Dan Krauss
Executive Producer & Creative Advisor: Deborah Hoffmann
Executive Producer: Julie Goldman
Producer: Linda Davis
Editor: Lawrence Lerew
Composer: Justin Melland
Cinematographer: Dan Krauss
Written by: Dan Krauss, Lawrence Lerew, and Linda Davis
About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at 10:00pm. The acclaimed series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For more visit pbs.org/independentlens. Join the conversation: www.facebook.com and on Twitter.