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Documentary Filmmaker Matthew VanDyke Joins the Fight Against ISIS

Documentary Filmmaker Matthew VanDyke Joins the Fight Against ISIS

Point and Shoot” producer and “star” Matthew VanDyke is heading out again, this time to fight ISIS.
According to The New York Times, VanDyke is one of a growing number of Americans, many of whom are veterans, who have volunteered in recent months for join the fight against ISIS, even as the U.S. has, so far, refrained from sending in ground troops. VanDyke spent this past winter with four American veterans secretly training a militia of Assyrian Christians to resist and fight the Islamic State’s advancements.
“More than anything, they don’t like ISIS and want to help,” said VanDyke of the American vets who’ve taken up this task. 
“A lot of guys did important stuff overseas and came home and got stuck in menial jobs, which can be really hard,” he told the Times.” We offer them kind of a dream job, a chance to do what they are trained to do without all the red tape and PowerPoints.”

Now, he’s helping recruit more fighters. He’s started a company called The Sons of Liberty International, a security organization operating in Iraqi Kurdistan that trains anti-ISIS fighters.

But VanDyke is no stranger to dangerous situations. From 2007-2011, he traveled throughout the Middle East and North Africa by motorcycle. His experiences led him to the Libyan Civil War, where he joined up as a rebel fighter and became a prisoner of war. The resulting footage made its way into the 2014 documentary “Point and Shoot,” which was written and directed by Academy Award-nominated director Marshall Curry. VanDyke served as a producer on the film, which won Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014 before being distributed by The Orchard.
On The Takeaway with John Hackenberry this morning, VanDyke elaborated on why this is a personal matter to him. “I spent many years in the region,” he said of his time making “Point and Shoot” as well at the short film “Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution.” “Then my friends James Foley and Steven Sotloff were killed by ISIS and I refocused my attention and I was looking for the best way to make a contribution.”
According to USA Today, VanDyke use his own funds to start the company, at first training just 25 men from a group of 2,000 volunteers. 

“I think if you believe in something, you should get out and do something about it rather than give it a thumbs-up to the television from your sofa,” he said.

It’s unclear if VanDyke is capturing his latest quest on camera, but if he is, it might make for another award-winning documentary film.

READ MORE: Tribeca Video: ‘Point and Shoot’ Documentary Subject Matthew VanDyke on the Nature of Modern War

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