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.

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