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Antiwar Documentary \'Winter Soldier\' to be Shown at Juniata

(Posted October 17, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- The seminal antiwar documentary film "Winter Soldier" will be shown at Juniata College at 7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 22 in Alumni Hall in the Brumbaugh Academic Center on the Juniata campus.

The film is free and open to the public. The film event is sponsored by the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies.

"Winter Soldier" was made in 1972, at the height of the antiwar movement against U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The film is a collection of interviews filmed by a variety of documentary filmmakers during hearings conducted by the antiwar group Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Set in Detroit in 1971, more than 125 veterans testified about atrocities they had witnessed or committed while stationed in Vietnam.

An array of documentary directors, including Fred Aranow, Barbara Jarvis, Barbara Kopple, Robert Fiore, filmed testimony from veterans that included U.S. Navy veteran John Kerry, who was later elected to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts and ran for president in 2004.

The film was shown at the Cannes and Berlin film festivals and played briefly in a New York City theater. All three broadcast networks and PBS turned down the film. The 95-minute documentary has been shown sporadically at various college campuses and other outlets since its release.

The film documents the "Winter Soldier Investigation," which was organized by the Vietnam veterans group and the Citizens Commission of Inquiry, to, according to the group's statement, "investigate the true nature of American military policy in Vietnam and the extent to which war crimes were common procedure."

In the final film, testimony from 30 Vietnam veterans was used, including Sen. Kerry, who used the term "winter soldier" in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to describe the duty Vietnam veterans felt in speaking out.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.