Wednesday, September 22, 2010

RESTREPO is playing at the Galaxy Cinema in Cary, NC

Image from Galaxy Cinema's website.
Earlier this year, I wrote about attending the Full Frame Film Festival in Durham, N.C.  I will always be grateful to those of you who funded my attendance at the festival.  It really taught me a lot, and showed me ways to become a better filmmaker.  One of my festival favorites is now showing in Cary, N.C., and I encourage anyone interested in docs (especially those about war) to attend.

The film is superb.  The Galaxy Cinema lists this synopsis on its website:
Winner of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize for a Documentary, RESTREPO chronicles the deployment of a U.S. platoon of courageous American soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, considered to be one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military. From May 2007 to July 2008, Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger dug in with the men of the Second Platoon, Battle Company of the 503rd Infantry Regiment (airborne), stationed at Restrepo, sharing duties and shooting more than 150 hours of combat, frustration, routine, jokes, terror and bravery during daily life at the outpost. Hetherington and Junger, have made a film unlike any other about men in harm's way. We see their courage. We experience their frustrations. We share their bonding. We hear the music they listen to, and we see the snapshots of their kids that they pass around. It is something that audiences have never before experienced. As they fight the Taliban, these 15 men win our hearts and minds in a way no fictional film can.

The film is playing at the Galaxy Cinema in Cary, N.C., through the end of September.  View times online here.  Tell me what you think when you see it; I'm always curious about your reactions.  Oh, and here's the trailer if you want to see that.

Monday, September 20, 2010

David Crabtree's Interview with Ret. Gen. Hugh Shelton

On Sunday morning, I awoke to the sound of David Crabtree's voice.  My alarm clock is set to turn on the radio, and this particular morning Crabtree's interview with Retired Gen. Hugh Shelton came on.  Shelton has just been named chairman of Red Hat, Inc., an international company headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., on N.C. State University's Centennial Campus.

The interview woke me up immediately, as Crabtree ran down Gen. Shelton's qualifications: nearly four decades serving in the military, two tours in Vietnam, leader of the 82nd Airborne, commander of Special Ops, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff serving Presidents Clinton and Bush.  Perhaps it was the local flavor that was the icing on the cake: a small-town eastern North Carolina native and an N.C. State University student. 

Take a few minutes to listen to the interview, as it's quite interesting.  They talk about the things that make great leaders, both in the military and the corporate world. 

"Great leaders are the same in the military as they are in the corporate world. They have the same values: integrity, ... great character, ethics... They use those same attributes to lead their corporation," he states. 

This is a similar concept shared in the first chapter of Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath, which I highly recommend to anyone interested in corporate leadership and what makes ideas stick.  The role of leadership in the military and corporate world is something that endlessly fascinates me, and the interview with Gen. Shelton touches on it briefly.

Gen. Shelton also comments on the things happening today in Iraq and Afghanistan, which directly relates to our film.  Abandoned Allies explores the Vietnam War era, but through the lens of what's happening today. 

Our economy is still weak, making it tough for many Americans to focus some attention on the war overseas, but it's something I feel that we can't afford to ignore.  Gen. Shelton's thoughts on the differences between winning and succeeding during war are great, and I appreciated his thoughts on nation-building as well.

Have you listened to the interview?  What were your reactions?