Filmmaker Jake Rademacher has two brothers in the Army and both have deployed multiple times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. This left Jake feeling out of the loop, so he decided to do something to close the growing gap between himself and his brothers. He founded Metanoia Films, raised a few million dollars then embedded with four different combat units in Iraq.
“I began to feel a distance for the first time between myself and my two brothers,” said Rademacher, a native of Decatur, Illinois. “I want to know what’s going on in Iraq because I have two brothers serving there. These guys are putting their lives on the line. Why are they doing that? I need to know.”
After six years and shooting more than 320 hours of footage, Jake’s documentary, “Brothers at War,” made its premiere at the National Press Club in the nation’s capital Feb.20
Co-executive producer and actor Gary Sinise was on hand for the event.
“I’m here to support a film I very, very much believe in,” said Gary Sinise, who recently received the Presidential Citizens Medal for his work with the military.
Rademacher explained the goal of the documentary is to show the American people what is going on in Iraq.
“We wanted to bring America right to the frontlines of the war,” said Rademacher.
Rademacher also said the film doesn’t just focus on the deployed service members but also takes a look at the families left behind.
“The film is an honest portrayal of what families go through,” said David Scantling, co-executive producer of the documentary. “People need to see this film.”
Sinise said the film is a positive reflection on our military families and the dedication our troops exhibit.
“When they asked me if I would get involved with the film I was humbled, honored and it was a privilege for me just to support the movie,” Sinise said.
Gunnery Sgt. Edward Allier, who was a staff sergeant when Jake shot the documentary, was an Iraqi infantry company advisor on his third deployment to Iraq. Jake was embedded with Allier and some Iraqi soldiers when a firefight in the Sunni Triangle broke out.
“Initially, I was uneasy with the cameras being there,” said Allier. “You’re never certain of a journalist's agenda. But over time Jake won my trust. It became clear that he was indeed there to simply document the stresses of being away from those we love.”
As the documentary came to a close, roughly 150 people in the audience rose to their feet, giving a standing ovation.
“I was totally blown away,” Allier said. “I found that although the documentary told the story of one specific American family, if you were to substitute the names it would easily reflect the story of any American family with a loved one deployed. It's an emotionally powerful story. No spin. No agenda. Just how our military families deal with not only the stresses of not knowing how a loved one is doing, but of the stresses and trials of reuniting with each other. “
The documentary opens March 13 in theatres near military installations, including Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C.