18 April 2014

'Restrepo' Filmmaker Launches 'Korengal' Kickstarter

One of the producers of the 2010 Academy Award-nominated documentary "Restrepo" is crowd-funding the theatrical release of a second film focused on a platoon of U.S. soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

Taking its name from the eastern Afghan valley in which it was shot, "Korengal" is the third documentary project from Sebastian Junger, author of "War" (2010) and "The Perfect Storm" (1997).

The Kickstarter page, which includes a 3-minute video trailer of the already-finished film, is here. In 2007 and 2008, Junger and "Restrepo" co-producer Tim Hetherington repeatedly embedded with a platoon of 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team (173rd A.B.C.T.) soldiers in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province.

Where Junger describes "Restrepo" as immersive and experiential, he says the follow-up "Korengal" is intended to help make sense of—or at least reflect on—that earlier experience. On camera, its subjects talk about fear, and courage, and what it takes to make it through a combat deployment.

Readers of the Red Bull Rising blog may recall that the 2010 release of "Restrepo" occurred just as the Iowa National Guard's 2nd Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division was preparing to deploy to Eastern Afghanistan, including the adjacent Laghman Province. In fact, the "Restrepo" promotional team arranged for some Red Bull soldiers to preview the film while at annual training 2010, Camp Ripley, Minn.

In his recent Kickstarter launch, Junger writes:
Korengal picks up where Restrepo left off; the same men, the same valley, the same commanders, but a very different look at the experience of war. Korengal explains how war works, what it feels like and what it does to the young men who fight it. As one soldier cheers when he kills an enemy fighter, another looks into the camera and asks if God will ever forgive him for all of the killing he has done. As one soldier grieves the loss of his friend in combat, another explains why he misses the war now that his deployment has ended, and admits he would go back to the front line in a heartbeat. Every bit as intense and affecting as Restrepo, Korengal goes a step further in bringing the war into people's living rooms back home.
"Korengal" is Junger's third feature-length documentary film. His second, 2013's "Which Way to the Front Line from Here," commemorated the life of photojournalist, author, and "Restrepo" co-producer Tim Hetherington, who was killed during fighting in Libya in 2011. Following that death, Junger started the non-profit Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues (R.I.S.C.), which trains freelance journalists in combat life-saving techniques.

For the official "Korengal" movie website, click here.

For the Kickstarter page, click here.

For a Facebook page for the "Korengal" film, click here.

16 April 2014

Veterans-Lit Publisher Declares a Tactical Pause

Leaders at the non-profit Military Experience and the Arts (M.E.A.), Richmond, Ky., announced this week that they would temporarily suspend submissions to each of four military-themed arts journals, in order to establish a new on-line submissions platform and process.

Writers that have previously submitted to the 2014 issues are asked to resubmit once the platform is in place. A revised call for submissions will appear on the organization's website later this year.

"The growing popularity of our four publications has resulted in a ton of queries and submissions and it has been hard to keep up," writes founder and editor Travis Martin. "If you’ve been waiting anxiously, I am sorry for that and hope that you will consider waiting a little while longer for a chance to publish with us. [...]"

In military parlance, the organization is conducting a tactical pause—also sometimes called "taking a knee"—in order perform needed checks, rest, and resupply before continuing on with a mission.

Martin continues: "MEA is not closing up shop or giving up on its mission, but I, along with many of our staff members, a collection of educators, freelance writers, and veterans’ advocates, need a chance to recuperate from a crazily successful 2012 and 2013 so that we can finish out 2014 strong."

Publications affected by the temporary pause in submissions include:


The MEA organization often provides military veterans, service members, and families with supportive environments in which to develop and share their talents in writing and visual arts. As such, the group has frequently been featured on the Red Bull Rising blog, including at least two previous mentions this calendar year, here and here.

14 April 2014

Iowa Review's Writing Contest for Vets Opens Apr. 15

Jeff Sharlet during service in Vietnam
The submissions window for the second Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans writing contest opens tomorrow, Tues., April 15 and closes May 15. The contest is open to any service member or veteran writing in any genre, about any subject matter. (Current students, faculty, or staff of the University of Iowa, however, are not eligible to enter the contest.)

The contest is hosted by The Iowa Review and made possible by the family of Jeff Sharlet (1942–1969), a Vietnam veteran and anti-war writer and activist.

Entry fee is $15, although a limited number of fee-waivers are available for entrants with financial need. Prize is $1,000 and publication in The Iowa Review.

Entrants should submit an original double-spaced manuscript in any genre (poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction) of up to 20 pages. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, although the editors request timely notification if the work is later accepted elsewhere.

Submissions may be made either on-line or via postal mail.

A webpage with full details and specifications for the Jeff Sharlet Memorial Award for Veterans can be found here. A Submittable page for on-line submissions is here.

The contest and publication have previously been mentioned on the Red Bull Rising blog here and here.

Finalists will be selected by the editors of The Iowa Review. A winner will be selected by the guest judge. This year's judge includes Anthony Swofford, author of the Gulf War memoir "Jarhead," a 28008 novel "Exit A," as well as the 2012 memoir, "Hotels, Hospitals, and Jails".

A Facebook page for The Iowa Review is here.