Filmmaker's project focuses on 'soldiers' whole lives'
January 13, 2005
WASHINGTON — Aaron Mighty wants to make a film about war, but he doesn’t think actors and special effects will tell the story.
“We want to look at soldiers’ whole lives: going into war, facing war and coming home,” the director said Monday. “So we started last November, on Veterans Day, collecting stories from people in the military and their families. And the stories so far are phenomenal.”
Mighty, an independent filmmaker from Florida, said the goal of his documentary “An American Soldier” is to help audiences appreciate the military experience by recording an intimate view of the heroism and tragedy inherent in war.
Mighty and three associates are also responsible for DearAmericanSoldiers.com, founded last year to collect holiday e-mails and online notes of encouragement for troops serving abroad.
Mighty said that campaign — which developed while he and friends researched for the movie — has given him ideas and encouragement, convincing him the movie will touch many viewers’ lives.
The group has collected about 250 stories, ranging from a Wisconsin paratrooper who served as an advance scout for D-Day to a Gulf War veteran concealing his postbattle health problems from friends and co-workers.
“We have one story of a guy serving in the Korean War whose unit adopted a young boy after his parents were killed in a battle,” he said. “Eventually, when the unit moved they had to leave the child behind, and the boy ran after the trucks as they left, crying.”
His goal is to collect more than 1,000 stories, select the most compelling, and begin filming this spring.
Mighty, 26, is a graduate student at University of Central Florida with no formal film training. His only previous full-length film, “One Happy Movie,” has been shown in limited release and features interviews with different people discussing what brings joy to their lives.
Mighty said he is meeting next month with possible financial backers for the project, which he expects will cost between $50,000 and $100,000. But he thinks the emotional stories and the firsthand look at war will draw support, especially in light of the war on terror.
“It may be hard to avoid the politics of war today,” he said. “But that’s not our goal.
“My cousin Charles is stationed over in Iraq. Growing up, we were close. When he was sent over last summer, it made it really personal for me. People should celebrate our American men and women serving every day of the year.”
Troops and retired military personnel can submit their stories for consideration at: www.anamericansoldiermovie.com.