New on DVD: Iraq-Afghanistan War MASH

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Film shot in war zone brings true stories of army medics and wounded soldiers to the screen in real-life M*A*S*H

Available on DVD Memorial Day, May 25

“a film that qualifies as essential viewing when partisan rhetoric and administration spin too often obscure the war’s human cost…Sanders never flinches in showing the blood, viscera and immense suffering that too often remains on the cutting-room floor in the journalistic media.” – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

The American Film Foundation announces the U.S. television premiere and DVD release of the documentary film, Fighting for Life, on Memorial Day, May 25, 2009. The film will begin airing on PBS affiliates nationwide in May, check local listings. A DIY (Do it Yourself) release, the Fighting for Life DVD will be available for purchase on the filmmakers website: www.fightingforlifethemovie.com.

Fighting for Life by Academy Award-winning director Terry Sanders (Return with Honor, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision) is a powerful and viscerally affecting documentary portrait of American military medicine. Filmed on the front lines in Iraq and at U.S. military medical facilities at home and abroad, Fighting for Life is the story of doctors, nurses and medics fighting to save the lives of soldiers and marines wounded and maimed in battle. In this critically-acclaimed film, Sanders expertly braids three stories together as he documents military doctors, nurses and medics working with skill, compassion and dedication amidst the vortex of the Iraq War; wounded soldiers and marines who face life-altering injuries with courage, dignity and determination to survive and to heal; and, the students of the Uniformed Services University (the “West Point” of military medicine) on their journey toward becoming career military physicians.

The film also follows the personal story of 21 year-old Army Specialist Crystal Davis, on her odyssey from Iraq to Germany to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC, as she fights to recover from the loss of her leg.

Director Terry Sanders states, “We made a film not only about military medicine and the unsung healer-heroes of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but about the courage and spirit it takes to recover from serious injury. We were privileged to be trusted to share and film the deep emotions of the military doctors and nurses and to meet many of the wounded, including Iraqi wounded, to get to know their stories and their feelings, as they coped, both physically and emotionally with their situations.”

Fighting for Life was released theatrically last year to critical acclaim from some of the most respected publications and film writers in the country. Matt Zoller Seitz of the New York Times writes of the film, “Shot in battlefield hospitals in Iraq and rehab centers in the United States, ‘Fighting for Life’ takes an unflinching look at the physical sacrifices of soldiers and marines, and the fortitude of the doctors and nurses who treat them.”

John Anderson of Variety writes, “The only people who seem immune to the politics of the Iraq War are also at its epicenter: the doctors and nurses who mend and tend to the wounded, and who provide the heart and soul of Terry Sanders’ “Fighting for Life.”…What’s onscreen is among the most disturbing footage to come out of the Iraq cinema experience: Sanders and his crew probe relentlessly with their cameras, never recoiling from the most horrendous, bone-revealing injury, or from the long road of pain and disability ahead for most of the very young people on stretchers, or from the older but unjaded medical teams around them.”

The film was shot over a two year period, with a small crew (cameramen Erik Daarstad and Buddy Squires, soundman Bruce Nolte and co-producer Jennifer Glos) led by director, Terry Sanders. Fighting for Life was filmed with HD cameras in a combat hospital in the center of Iraq, on giant C-141 and C-17 planes outfitted as flying intensive care units, and in military hospitals in Germany and the United States.

Fighting for Life is presented to PBS stations via Oregon Public Broadcasting and NETA. Produced and directed by two-time Academy Award-Winning filmmaker Terry Sanders, the film had its nationwide theatrical debut in 2008 through distributor, Truly Indie. For more information, please visit www.fightingforlifethemovie.com.