Ongoing in Washington DC this week is the GI Film Festival, an event that since 2007 has showcased films by soldiers, veterans, and civilian-artists interested in war and military-related issues. As I look over this year’s schedule, two films, The Making of Fallujah and The Hornet’s Nest, catch my eye.
The Making of Fallujah documents the production of an opera about the bloody battle fought in the titular city in 2004 and 2005. In particular, Fallujah the opera portrays the war and post-war experience of a Marine named Christian Ellis, who fought and was wounded in Fallujah, while also incorporating the points-of-view of American family members and Iraqi citizens. As far as I can tell, Fallujah has never been staged live, but the movie about its making can be viewed online, along with a trailer and assorted behind-the-scene clips, at The Making of Fallujah. The film offers large swaths of what appear to be near-full-dress workshop performances. The musical snippets are gorgeous and the storyline and backstory compelling.
The Hornet’s Nest is the feature attraction of the GI Film Festival this year. From the trailer, it’s hard to tell whether the subject is a 101st Airborne operation in eastern Afghanistan or the father-son embedded journalist team (Mike and Carlos Boettchner) who get caught in the thick of the action, but it definitely promises plenty of human drama and up-close-and-personal small unit bang-bang.