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HOME OF THE BRAVE

The Genesis Of Home Of The Brave
With all the roiling controversies of the Iraq War, the raw human experiences of its soldiers -- the young American men and women who heeded the call and volunteered for military service -- have nearly been lost from view. Yet their stories are burning to be told. The culture shock of serving in such a starkly different country, the nature of facing an unpredictable terrorist enemy, the ethical quandaries of being surrounded by a vulnerable civilian population and the traumatic injuries that result from the improvised bombs all too common in Iraq have all added up to creating a situation unlike any other in the history of American warfronts. 

On the heels of their surreal, adrenaline-fueled, psychologically complicated tours of duty, soldiers are now discovering an intense process of transformation is needed to once again lead ordinary, everyday lives at home. Indeed, Time Magazine recently published a study which reveals that one out of every 4 Iraq War veterans has arrived back in the U.S. with a mental or physical disability. Yet, at the same time, the nature of the mission in Iraq and the tight-knit bonds that soldiers have formed there also made re-enlistment rates for U.S. troops in Iraq the highest in the military – and many who have been there are compelled to go back. It seems clear that whether newly released veterans are struggling to get back to normal lives or trying to return to the war, there is one uncontroversial truth behind all their experiences – they are profoundly life-altering.  It is this powerful, utterly unexplored territory that accomplished director and producer Irwin Winkler approaches with HOME OF THE BRAVE and its linked stories of four National Guard soldiers from Spokane, Washington.

Winkler, whose prolific roster of films as a producer have garnered four nominations for Best Picture Academy Awards® and who most recently directed the acclaimed "De-Lovely” starring Kevin Kline as Cole Porter, often looks for inspiration in current events. The idea for HOME OF THE BRAVE began after he read a newspaper article about the unique experiences of Iraq War vets returning home – a subject he quickly realized had been largely missing from American storytelling. Winkler wanted to change that. While stories about Vietnam homecomings didn't hit the Hollywood screen until long after the war and its attendant controversies had ended, Winkler felt it was time to address the immediacy of the issues facing Iraqi war veterans right now.

"I felt it was an important subject that no one had dramatized,” comments Winkler. "One of my favorite films was always William Wyler's World War II film ‘The Best Years of Our Lives,' and in that same vein, I thought it would be a compelling idea to create a story that would explore the lives of different veterans coming home now.”

Winkler continues: "Of course, Wyler's film takes place entirely at home, but I wanted to also have part of our film take place partly in combat in Iraq to really show what modern battles are like. I saw the film as being about what happens when you have people who spend a great deal of time putting their lives in unpredictable danger in a modern war zone and then suddenly try to return to normal life, having been changed in every conceivable way.” 

The idea was equally intriguing to Winkler's long-time producing partner Rob Cowan, who saw an opportunity to make a war film unlike any in recent memory. "In contrast to a lot of contemporary war movies, particularly movies about Vietnam, we wanted to make a movie that would be very pro-soldier,” he explains. "It's a move about people doing a very difficult job, one that is apolitical in the sense that they are simply doing what they have been asked to do to support their country. In a sense, the characters in our film become real heroes when they return back home, because they each go through an extraordinary journey to c

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