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Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience

Oscar's Documentary Shortlist

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Richard Robbins

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: Before making this film, Robbins spent 10 years as a news producer, primarily making segments for Peter Jennings.

FINANCING: The film cost roughly $1 million and was financed by the Corp. for Public Broadcasting, the Independent Television Service and a grant from the Boeing Co.

THEME: Pic brings to cinematic life the writings of several Iraq war vets, interspersing these vignettes with his interviews of the authors and comments by literati who are also vets from earlier conflicts.

VARIETY REVIEW SAYS: “Robbins’ visual overlay sometimes synchs perfectly with the narration and other times roughly approximates it, deliberately granting primacy to the word.”

DISTRIBUTION STATUS: The film opened at New York’s Film Forum, followed by a quick rollout to about 20 cities. Robbins’ company, the Documentary Group, managed the theatrical distributions. A short version of the film was broadcast on PBS nationally in April.

ON THE MAKING OF THE FILM: “We did deal with various parts of the military community, including the Pentagon,” says Robbins. “When we got a chance to really explain what we were doing, we got the help we needed. I found that the men and women in the armed forces are much more thoughtful than they are often given credit for. And I hope that thoughtfulness comes through on the screen.”

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