Focus Features has acquired worldwide rights to Patricia Foulkrod's documentary feature "The Ground Truth: After the Killing Ends," which screened at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, Focus president James Schamus announced Monday. Cinetic brokered the deal with Focus, and the film is slated for a theatrical release later this year.
According to Focus, the film includes "the stories of a half-dozen American heroes - ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq - as it charts recruitment and training, combat, homecoming, and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities. The terrible conflict in Iraq, depicted with ferocious honesty in the film, is a prelude for the even more challenging battles fought by the soldiers returning home - with personal demons, an uncomprehending public, and an indifferent government."
"I read something in the news [two years ago] about the lack of body armor available [to soldiers in Iraq]," explained Foulkrod, in a conversation with indieWIRE Monday afternoon, discussing her film and the reasons for making it. "I knew the American people knew very little about this, [but] I felt that if the American people did know, they would be very alarmed. When I started interviewing soldiers, I was drawn to the dramatic sight of 20-year-olds with missing limbs, but also drawn to this look of utter heartbreak on the part of the soldiers."
Foulkrod added that the training method utilized by the military today has created a culture of killing which has profound repercussions for returning soldiers. "They come home and we say, 'get over it, you're fine.' I think the way we train these guys is significant. Now we really have to take care of them..."
With Focus' acquisition of her film, Foulkrod said she hopes the soldiers' stories will reach the larger public audience. "I'm thrilled to have a company that seems very committed of using the movie for opening a dialog across the country for how we treat our soldiers."
"Patricia has made a searing film, one with exclusive footage that will stun audiences," commented Schamus in a statement. "These soldiers are patriotic Americans articulating stories that must be heard, and we think filmgoers around the world are ready to watch and listen."
Current and upcoming Focus Features releases also include Rian Johnson's "Brick" (winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival); Gaby Dellal's "On a Clear Day"; Peter Cattaneo's family film "Opal Dream"; an untitled film directed by Phillip Noyce; Allen Coulter's "Hollywoodland"; and Shane Acker's animated fantasy epic "9," produced by Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov and Jim Lemley and Dana Ginsburg. Focus Features and Rogue Pictures are part of entertainment and media giant, NBC Universal.