War is hell. Why would anyone want to spend their weekends there?
UPDATE: NEW GOAL OF $25K!
Wow! What can we say? We’re amazed by your generosity and support for our project. People have donated from far and wide, many telling us how surprised and moved they are by what they’ve seen and how they can’t wait to see more. And now we’ve reached our goal less than a week into our campaign…so now what?
Let’s keep going!
Music and archival rights, sound mix, color correction, festival prints and submissions - it adds up fast! So we’ve created a stretch goal of $25,000! This amount will help us finish the film sooner and show funders, festival programmers and broadcasters that the film already has an audience!
ABOUT THE FILM:
In Country is a feature documentary that follows 2/5 1st Cav (R), a “platoon” of hardcore war reenactors striving to make an authentic recreation of the Vietnam War in the woods of Oregon.
Most of us are familiar with Civil War and World War II reenactments. These wars were long enough ago that they evoke a certain nostalgia and even romance. But what would compel someone to reenact a more recent, morally ambiguous and unpopular war? What would compel someone to reenact Vietnam?
Filmmakers Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara take you deep inside a fascinating world that blurs the boundaries of reality and fantasy to tell a story about men searching for healing and camaraderie by reliving some of the most divisive days in American history.
As filmmakers we are attracted to stories that challenge our assumptions, films that inspire debate and find beauty in unexpected places. In Country is one of those films.
After shooting our very first battle re-enactment in August of 2010 in the woods outside Salem, OR, we were convinced that we had the makings of an amazing film.
On one hand, we found a group of men getting thrills play-acting some of our country’s darkest hours; on the other hand, we witnessed men who had experienced combat first-hand in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan find refuge from a world that didn’t understand their experiences. The effort they spent getting every single detail right was absolutely astounding. They had jeeps, tents, weapons, uniforms, canned rations. They even had period specific magazines stuffed in their rucks. It was like stepping back in time. As we marched out into the woods it was sometimes hard to tell if they were playing a role or playing themselves. Some moments were deeply moving and others quite grim. We were simultaneously fascinated and repelled by what they were doing.
And as much as reenacting intrigues us, it’s our characters that kept us coming back. Here are a few members of the platoon:
Sgt. Vinh, fought for the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) from 1971 to 1974. For him reenacting helps him remember the most important time in his life, when he was 17 and fighting for his country.
“Doc” exudes cool as he doles out nicknames and coaches the younger men on how to act like soldiers. You’d never know that after two tours as an Army Medic, he is still plagued by nightmares from the things he saw in Iraq. He never thought he’d have any interest in reenacting, but connecting with older veterans allows him to put his own experience into perspective.
"Bummy" was stunned when he found the group while looking to reconnect with his Vietnam buddies online: “They’re portraying my old unit!” After some hesitation, Bummy contacted the group and has since become their resident expert. Recalling his days as a soldier is an unexpected turn for a man who hung up his uniform and tried to re-integrate into society as quickly as possible upon returning from Vietnam.
“Tuna” is a young man with a wife and four boys who started reenacting the Vietnam War as a teenager, long before he joined the Army. He’s completed one tour in Iraq and will soon depart to another in Afghanistan. He describes war like a drug, the worst and best times of his life all rolled into one.
In Country will be a beautiful and haunting film that takes the viewer from the vividly recreated “battlefield” of Vietnam to the lives of soldiers on the home-front. We hope that the film will start an important conversation about what draws men to war despite the devastating consequences.
Guess what?! We have great news: The film has already been shot! It’s in the can! We’ve even begun editing it! So much work already done! Up until now, this project has been a labor of love.
Over the past two years, we have used our own money and sweat to shoot this film. We have shot three multi-day reenactments and filmed at three military bases. We’ve followed our subjects to their homes in Oregon, Texas and Washington. To capture this story, we slept on the ground in the pouring rain. We’ve crossed raging rivers with our gear precariously over our heads. We marched for hours through a jungle of stinging nettles as our subjects relentlessly searched for a “VC camp.” We ate cold food out of cans because lighting a fire might have given our position away to the “enemy.” We even drank instant coffee. That’s how important we think this story is.
And it was totally worth it. The footage is gorgeous and chock full of stories, itching to be told. We think we have an exciting film on our hands, one that will give insight into the lasting legacy of the Vietnam War and the lives of soldiers.
In September, we pitched the film to a group of industry leaders at the Points North Documentary Forum and received an amazing response: industry people wanting to talk to us, vets & peace protesters coming up to share their stories, other filmmakers giving us high fives. We were honored to take home the top prize for "Best Pitch!"
A lot of the broadcasters and producers we talked to said they wanted to see a rough cut of the film and that's where you come in!!
WHY WE NEED YOUR HELP
We are asking for your support because we need money to hire an experienced editor who can help us craft our story and get the most out of our footage. We need to get a rough cut (that's a rough draft for you non-film folks) of the film made to show funders and broadcasters the true potential of the film. The money we raise with this campaign will go directly to paying the editor and other post-production costs such as hard-drives, sound mix and color correction.
Every single dollar will help us reach our goal. No amount is too small!! Every donation raises the profile of our project and helps us get noticed.
If you choose to donate more than $25 you’ll start getting the fun stuff: copies of the film and production mementos, p-38 can openers, a custom IN COUNTRY military style patch based on the patch worn by 1st CAV, custom dogtags, a homemade care package, credits in the film, and more.
Donate soon! We are under a deadline so don't delay! We are hoping to get to 10% as fast as we can to get the ball rolling!
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
Tell everyone you know about our campaign! Follow us on TWITTER and FACEBOOK . Share this page with as many people as you can. Write about us in your BLOG! Talk about it on your CB RADIO!! Send someone a TELEGRAM!!! All of these things help us get noticed and help us get to our goal.
Over the course of this campaign, we will be giving you a sneak peak into the production process and introducing you to some of our characters.
Thank you in advance for supporting our film. It really means a lot to us. We’ve been working on the project in relative isolation for a couple of years and we are very excited to talk about it. Feel free to email us about the film, or send us any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org We’d love to hear from you.
What is this Kickstarter thing?
Kickstarter is an online version of those fundraising thermometers outside the public library. It’s a SAFE & SECURE way to collect donations online. The donations are processed by Amazon.
There is one tiny catch: Kickstarter is all or nothing; if we don’t meet our goal, we don’t get *any* of the money. If we don't reach $15,000 - your credit card will not be charged.
Where does the money go?
All of the money, minus the fees collected by Kickstarter go straight to the production of the film.
Can we EXCEED our goal?
Absolutely! We like the way you think! It will actually take us more than $65,000 to finish this film (crazy right?! but with music rights, sound mix, color correction, festival prints and submissions - it adds up fast!). Any money we raise over our goal will help us finish the film sooner. Man, that would be awesome.
Tracey Thompson donated her talents to design our Patch.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Making a documentary film is never easy! It's a long slow process. Mike and I have spent 2 years working on this film so far on our own. We are committed to seeing it through.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.