Tattooed Under Fire

A look at River City Tattoo Parlor where war-bound and returning soldiers go under the needle and confess their deepest secrets and fears.

Film Signature Image
Premiere Date
October 25, 2009
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call

Nancy Schiesari

Nancy Schiesari is an Emmy-nominated cinematographer who has shot dozens of documentaries around the world for The Learning Channel, Discovery, ABC, British Film Institute, BBC, and Channel 4. Her most recent project was a profile of Martin Scorsese for BBC 4, which was broadcast in January 2003 to coincide with the release of Gangs of New York. Schiesari Show more was nominated in 2002 for an Emmy for her work on the television series The Human Face with John Cleese and Elizabeth Hurley. She produced and directed Green Flutes [Channel 4, UK] and “Loaves and Fishes” for The Territory (PBS). Other credits in documentary include The Human Body (1998) for BBC, ABC, and The Learning Channel; Six Degrees of Freedom (1997), profiles of virtual reality designers, for Silicon Graphics; and Warrior Marks (1994) for Channel 4, shot on location in Africa with Alice Walker. In features, she worked on the all-women camera crew of Sally Potter’s first feature, The Gold Diggers (1983) shot in Iceland, and then became a DP on Partition (1988), featured at the Berlin Film Festival and other prestigious festivals, and Poco Loco (1994), with Debra Koons Garcia. She currently teaches cinematography at the University of Texas at Austin and shoots and directs freelance assignments. Show less


Alison Rooper

With over 25 years in the industry, Alison Rooper is an award-winning producer/director and executive producer working across factual programming of all genres. At Granada Television she worked with documentary producer Roger Graef and on the historical documentaries of Brian Lapping. After joining the BBC as producer/director, she went on to edit Show more and series produce some of the corporation’s flagship programs in science, documentary, and current affairs. She has been responsible for a number of international co-productions both within the BBC and as an independent producer through In Focus Productions. Recent films include the Emmy nominated Doping for Gold, shown on PBS’s Secrets of the Dead in 2008 and on Five as Revealed:The Great Olympic Drug Scandal. Also Cell: The Chemistry of Life premiered on BBC4 in August 2009. Show less

Other ITVS Films
Doping for Gold

Laura Sobel

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The Film

Tattooed Under Fire is a unique, intimate, character-driven portrait of Iraq-bound and returning U.S. soldiers as they go under the tattoo needle: openly expressing their pride, sharing their secrets, and confessing their fears. The tattoos cross lines of gender, class, and political affinity, revealing the inner lives of young men and women as they live through the horrors of the Iraq war.

The film’s narrative moves from the early expectations and excitement of 18 and 20 year-olds through cynicism and anger to a sense of a psychological aftermath that will never be erased. Each soldier’s story is an evocative, poignant, and highly personal look at the human and cultural cost of war.