Since the U.S. went to war in Afghanistan in 2001and Iraq in 2003, almost 2.5 million members of the U.S. military have been deployed. Many of them were mothers and fathers. Thousands never returned home. Half a million have been left with a permanent physical disability, and countless more are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
While the effects of war on the servicemen and women themselves have been well documented, the impact on our nation's children has not.
Not since the Vietnam War has a generation of American children been so exposed to the effects of conflict at home and in their society.
A Child’s Guide to War will document the lives of children who have grown up during this era, some of whom have been dealing directly with a parent or relative’s combat experience and others who have been affected less directly by conflict.
What you see in the Kickstarter video is an example of the kinds of questions we will be asking children in our film. We have not shot the film yet. The Kickstarter video shows children in Boston answering our questions about war. For the full-length documentary film we will make, we will be asking children in different parts of the United States these questions and more.
We hope this provocative film will spark a vital conversation among adults. We will ask American children for the first time what they think about war and how it has affected them. What are the questions that children want to ask about war, and how should adults answer those questions? How can we improve education for young people who will soon be able to vote and may go to war themselves?
We also want to ask the bigger questions about war and our society. When should our country go to war? Why is it important to learn about war? Should there be rules for war, or does anything go? Who should fight in war, and how can we end a conflict?
From the children who are helping their veteran parents walk again to those children who simply have something important to say about war, we hope to tell stories from across America.
We believe the time is right for a project like this. In 2014, U.S. forces will leave Afghanistan, drawing to a close more than 13 years of continuous combat operations. For many American children, we have been at war their whole lives.
On completion, we plan to show this documentary at film festivals, community theaters, and schools. We’ve already had a fantastic response from organizations that would like to show the film and help us engage the public in this conversation.
WHY IS THIS FILM IMPORTANT?
A moving and important historical document of our times, A Child’s Guide to War aims to create a national conversation with children and adults, in schools and on the streets, about how and why we go to war. We hope you will help us on our mission and become part of our growing community.
Join our efforts, and let's have better conversations about why we go to war. Our nation as a whole and every single community is affected in one way or another, and everyone has a story to share.
We will be able to complete A Child’s Guide to War with the $31,000 in funding that we’re asking for from Kickstarter donors. Funds will be used to pay for film crew, equipment, editing, and travel to filming locations in the U.S.
Making a feature-length film is a very expensive and challenging process. Help us make it happen! Each contribution gets us closer to the goal.
If we exceed our target, we’ll use the additional money to visit more locations, interview more children, and extend the quality and reach of the film through wider distribution.
So, please, donate what you can. Kickstarter is "all or nothing funding." That means we need to raise $ 31,000 within 45 days, or we won't receive anything! You make a pledge (as small as $10 or as large as your heart and pocketbook allow). NO money is charged unless ALL the funds are raised. We need every single donation we can get. Donations are TAX DEDUCTIBLE, and we have prepared an array of different awards for different levels of donation.
Even if you can't pledge, please share this project with your friends, family and colleagues. Help us spread the word by sharing this project across social media. Post about us on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. The more awareness and support we can bring to this project, the better chance we have of reaching our goal!
We won't be able to make this important documentary without your help!
ABOUT THE TEAM
Susan Hackley is Managing Director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, an academic center that helps people around the world learn how to deal effectively with conflict, solve problems, and build relationships. For three years, she served as Chair of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building peace and security worldwide. She has also worked as a writer, photographer, political analyst and speechwriter, and was co-founder of an Internet company that helped people connect to causes they care about. This project is deeply personal to her. Her son Zac was a Marine Corps infantryman who fought in Iraq. Her college boyfriend Bill served – and died – in Vietnam. She wants to have better conversations in the U.S. about why we go to war.
Ruaridh Arrow is a Scottish BAFTA award winning producer and director. His documentary, How to Start a Revolution, about Nobel Peace Prize nominee Gene Sharp, was broadcast by 22 international television channels, translated into 14 languages and won 8 international awards. In 2011, he reported for the BBC from Tahrir Square during the Egyptian Revolution. He is also a Research Affiliate at Harvard Law School, writing about revolutionary warfare. Growing up in a military family, one of Ruaridh’s earliest memories was watching his father leave for the Falklands War.
Narine Karapetyan currently works at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and will resume studying for her law degree at Suffolk University in the fall of 2013. Having grown up in the Caucasus, she has experienced firsthand the devastation war can cause, and she understands the need for dialogue and mutual respect. She believes the best place to start having a deeper conversation about war is with our young children, who may very well teach adults a few things.
Risks and challenges
We have a great team, fired up and ready to make this film! The budget will allow us to make a good film; if we get extra funds, we can make this film that much better. We need to go to different parts of the country to meet with and talk to children, and more funds will allow us to have more conversations. We want this film to be a springboard to discussion about war in the United States, and we hope to show the film at film festivals, in theatres, and in schools.
As most filmmakers will tell you, editing is one of the key components to telling a great story. Our goal is to release this film by the beginning of 2014, but if we need more time, then this may delay our release. We know with your support that we can meet our challenges and begin an important discussion.
- (42 days)