Advance movie screenings are always fun. There is something special about getting to taste the meal before the rest of the guests arrive, especially when the Sundance Film Festival has already placed their stamp of approval on the work. Landmark E-Street Cinema in Washington featured a special film on a very special topic to viewers on last week.
â€œThe Invisible Warâ€ is the winner of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award: U.S. Documentary. It is a moving investigative documentary on the subject of rape in the U.S. Military. The Department of Defense estimates there were a staggering 19,000 violent sex crimes in the military in 2010. 20% of all active-duty female soldiers are sexually assaulted. Female soldiers aged 18 to 21 accounted for more than half of the victims. The Invisible War introduces the individual stories of members of our armed forces who have been subject to rape by fellow soldiers and in some cases superior officers in their units.
Viewers are drawn in immediately at the beginning of the film and held in place by a continuous stream of interviews from victims and their families, military officials and members of Congress. What struck me in watching the film was the balance that was maintained throughout the full 90 minutes. Documentaries like this usually go wrong when they push too hard for the emotional response or they do not provide a full account of the facts surrounding the subject matter. All the facts and statistics used in the film come from the Department of Defense. The interviews sessions tear at your moral fiber but they take a very even tone. Instead of a spotlight with neon arrows and signs pointing towards criminals and victims. The film pulls back a curtain at a steady pace and asks you to listen, learn and act.
“The Invisible War” is not an anti-military film or anti-government film. It is about an injustice that is taking place within our countryâ€™s proudest military institutions. Young women (and in many cases men) volunteering to leave their homes and their families to serve their country are being faced with the â€œoccupational hazardâ€ of rape in the military. What the film shows is how we choose to treat the victims and perpetrators in the military system and what needs to be done to bring about change.
â€œInvisible Warâ€ premieres in Washington D.C. at the Landmark E-Street Cinema. The film was written and directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering, and Tanner King Barklow. For show times call 202-452-7672.
For more information on the â€œInvisible Warâ€ go to http://invisiblewarmovie.com/.
**Darryl Keeton is a distribution executive in the asset management industry. He and his wife Zoe Rodriguez-Keeton share a passion for adventure, travel and sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.***