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Juniata to Show 'Land of Confusion,' Iraq War Documentary

(Posted February 2, 2009)

A scene from the documentary "Land of Confusion," by Pennsylvania filmmaker Jeremy Zerechak

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A former Pennsylvania National Guard soldier-turned filmmaker will screen his documentary "Land of Confusion," which depicts a U.S. Army unit's search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, at Juniata College at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 9 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

The film is free and open to the public.

Jeremy Zerechak, who wrote, directed and edited the film, will host the showing of the documentary and answer questions after the screening.

"Land of Confusion" follows a Pennsylvania National Guard unit assigned to the Iraq Survey Group as they pursue evidence that Saddam Hussein and Iraq had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction. The film documents the unit's encounters with Iraqi citizens and depicts how the unit's mission and morale changed over time.

In 2004, Zerechak was an undergraduate film student at Penn State University. Before coming to Penn State, he had joined the U.S. Army National Guard to qualify for the service's educational benefits. In March 2004, Zerechak's Guard unit was activated and deployed to Iraq.

"Their open and trusting attitude over 14 months of shooting allowed (me to) capture unfettered speech and truly real moments of personal conflict."
Jeremy Zerechak, director

Zerechak, who received several academic awards for his film work at Penn State, packed up his cameras and other filmmaking equipment and went to Iraq intent on filming a documentary of his unit's time in the volatile country. Zerechak returned from his deployment with 56 hours of footage that he had shot over his yearlong assignment.

During his deployment, Zerechak had made three short films, including one short subject that was selected for a film festival. After earning a bachelor's degree in filmmaking, Zerechak began to piece together the collective footage he shot to create "Land of Confusion." (View Clip)

" 'Land of Confusion's' message is illustrated by the unique experiences of the American and Iraqi men featured in the film," says Zerechak in an artist's statement on the film's Web site. "Their open and trusting attitude over 14 months of shooting allowed (me to) capture unfettered speech and truly real moments of personal conflict."

The film was produced by Cory Peterson and scored by Joseph Miller. "Land of Confusion" was selected for the Philadelphia Film Festival and the Jacksonville (Fla.) International Film Festival. The film also received a Special Jury Award at the Florida Film Festival and the Atlanta Film Festival.

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