Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Baker Boys: Inside The Surge
If you didn't get the opportunity to watch this last night, set your DVR's for the next three Tuesdays. This will also be out on DVD soon.
On Tuesday, January 5, HDNet will premiere a four-part documentary series called BAKER BOYS: INSIDE THE SURGE.
The series, which will air every Tuesday throughout the month of January, is an intimate, inside look at Baker Company, an elite group of Army soldiers on an extended tour in Iraq as they 'surge' into a notoriously dangerous Al Qaeda stronghold. "BAKER BOYS: INSIDE THE SURGE" was filmed over three months in 2008 by veteran combat photographer Jon Steele.
As the Baker Boys' three-month deployment unfolds, viewers get a gripping look into the everyday lives of our soldiers on the front. The documentary features first-person, real-time storytelling as the soldiers of Baker Company negotiate new alliances with local Iraqi militias, pay off tribal sheiks for their cooperation, and deal with the fear and uncertainty of being thrust into the middle of counter-insurgency warfare, where money and trust are their most effective weapons. This is a deep penetrating look into the life of a soldier that exposes the raw personal emotion and the honest physical experience of combat soldiers operating in Iraq.
Director Kern Konwiser explains, "The documentary bears witness to the physical and emotional cost paid by American soldiers who, after years of fighting to win the war in Iraq, are now cast into an unfamiliar and unsettling role of winning the peace with non-traditional weapons: talking, trust building, and cash. These tactics stopped the violence and saved lives; it is fascinating, and sometimes unsettling, to see our own soldiers helping and handing out weekly payments larger than what most soldiers earn in a year to the very people who were trying to kill them just weeks before."
Baker Company is led by a tough but measured Army captain, Rich Thompson of West Palm Beach Florida, who has to keep his tired men motivated and safe in one of the most dangerous places in the world - all this during the last months of their extended tour. The Baker Boys thought they were about to go home; instead, they found themselves on a whole new mission.
"This documentary series is extremely powerful," said Mark Cuban, chairman and co-founder of HDNet. "Our viewers will be deeply moved by these soldiers and the stories that they tell us in their own words. We're proud to be a part of this project and to present our viewers with this inside look at life in Iraq."
The documentary gets inside the lives of the men of Baker Company like very few war documentaries ever have. The Army allowed Jon Steele into a world that is glamorized in films and television, but inside Jon's camera we get to see that world honestly and deeply, not dramatized or glorified. "I wanted to hook up with a combat unit to look in their eyes, hear their voices ... get them to open up about their feelings and emotions," said Steele. "I made a deal with them; I'd be willing to die with them if they'd be willing to talk to me."
This 4-part program was Directed by two-time Emmy Award winner Kern Konwiser, Executive Produced by Cal Boyington and David Pritchard for Gigapix Studios and Vincent Gonet and David Rihs for PointProd, and Produced by Kip Konwiser and Jon Steele. The film was edited by Derek Boonstra and Davon Ramos.
Dennis O'Brien is the Executive Producer of News and Documentaries and Lucia McCalmont is the Director of Program Acquisitions for HDNet.
For more information on the program, including clips and photos please visit the following links:
BAKER BOYS: INSIDE THE SURGE WEBSITE
HDNet Baker Boys: Inside The Surge
Labels: 2009 Deployment