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Body of War

Oscar's Documentary Shortlist

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTORS: Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS: The former host of television’s first and longest-running tabloid talkshow, Donahue teamed with Spiro, an associate professor and Emmy-winning documentarian (“Are the Kids Alright?”) at the U. of Texas.

FINANCING: After watching “this robotic Senate and House engaged in this bumper-sticker debate” over the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, Donahue remembers, “I knew most of America was not seeing this. I thought, ‘What can I do?'” This self-

financed film was his answer.

THEME: An unflinching, unabashedly partisan take on the Iraq war through the eyes of wounded soldier Tomas Young, who enlisted on Sept. 13, 2001, to fight Al Qaeda, only to be shipped off to Iraq instead.

VARIETY REVIEW SAYS: “A powerful argument against impetuous decisions, be they to join the military or to attack a country.”

DISTRIBUTION STATUS: Independently screened in festivals and theaters around the country. The filmmakers are still seeking distribution for the pic; Film Sales Co. is the sales agent.

ON THE MAKING OF THE FILM: “My inspiration is the picture of the naked child running from the napalm with her arms outstretched in Vietnam: See the pain, don’t sanitize the war,” says Donahue, who was introduced to Young by none other than Ralph Nader. “I knew this is the same drama that’s playing itself out behind thousands of doors in this nation,” he says.

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