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Country: United States

Director: Patricia Foulkrod

Topic: The human cost of war as told by American veterans who reveal their physical and psychological injuries.

Financing: Private investors and cash donations.

Budget: $300,000.

Shooting format: Mini-DV cam, some Beta.

Why it stands out: Affecting and graphic firsthand accounts by soldiers of their recruitment, training and experiences serving in the military in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Almost unanimously, reviewers declared this docu a must-see for its ability to inform and devastate audiences.

Memorable scene: Former Army Ranger Chad Reibar sits by himself in a deli, underscoring his isolation. He recounts, “You come home and you don’t fit anywhere.” Although it’s a quiet moment, it encapsulates the film’s premise.

Distribution status: Released via Focus Features Sept. 15, the film has taken in more than $20,000 so far. DVD distribution via standard retail outlets also is planned as are grassroots screenings.

On the making of the film: Foulkrod’s first day of shooting at Walter Reed Hospital began with an encounter with a 20-year-old soldier amputee. “I felt that the toll the war was taking on our soldiers was not being reported or broadcast,” the helmer explains. Focus CEO James Schamus adds: “‘The Ground Truth’ is not a political film in a partisan sense. The film is not chasing villains, it’s trying to find human stories. It’s politics based on empathy and the real human need to listen and touch, not vilify.”