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Using 300 hours of veritÃ© footage shot over the course of five years, the film follows General Sayar of the Afghan National Army and the U.S. National Guardsmen sent to mentor him and his men. General Sayar, a man who's been at war his entire life, and Col. Shute, a lifelong Guardsmen and the father of two sons serving in Iraq, are assigned to each other. As they struggle against vast differences in language, religion and culture to achieve the goals of their respective nations, a surprising friendship develops between them. With unprecedented access to top U.S. and Afghan military leaders, this is the first film to examine the reality of building a functioning Afghan military--the linchpin of any U.S. exit strategy. But it is also a strategy fraught with very human limits and complications. In war and in peace, the umanity of these two leaders, and the fallibility of their men, create a heart-breaking picture of a conflict that brings out the best of men in the worst of circumstances.
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Camp Victory, Afghanistan tells the story of the Afghan officers charged with building a new Afghan National Army (ANA) and the U.S. National Guardsmen sent to mentor them. It is the first film to examine the reality of building a functioning Afghan military-- a critical step toward bringing stability to Afghanistan and the linchpin of any U.S. exit strategy. But it is also very simply a story about friendship-- about the unlikely bonds that form across cultural, political and social barriers.
At the center of the film is General Fazaludin Sayar, a man whose cavernous face carries the long shadows of a lifetime of war. For Sayar, the U.S. war against the Taliban is just another stop in a seemingly unending series of conflicts. Still, the only thing stronger than his wariness of foreigners is his deep hunger for peace. Sayar is determined to build a strong national army-- be it with or in spite of his American 'mentors.'
Rotated in and out of Afghanistan as their tours begin and end, the U.S. National Guardsmen wrestle with their own frustrating cycle. As soon as they get oriented it seems, it's time to pack up and go. â€œWe donâ€™t have eight years of experience in Afghanistan,' remarks one Colonel, 'Its one year eight times. We are building the airplane while flying it.â€
But things begin to change in the Fall of 2006, when Oregon's National Guard arrives to relieve Vermont. Among the group is Col. Shute, a lifelong Guardsmen, the owner of Shute's Gun Shop in Quinton, NJ, and the father of two sons serving in Iraq. With a gruff exterior and his own wartime scars, Shute seems an unlikely candidate to break the barrier between U.S. and Afghan military leaders. But Shute also brings with him enough humility and open-mindedness to relate to the General. Impressed by each other from the outset, a slow but special bond grows between the two men.
Over the course of the next year, Shute and Sayar work toward a common goal: the creation of a professional Afghan army from a group of untrained, out of shape and largely illiterate enlistees. Along the way, Sayar reveals to Shute and the filmmaker stories of his past, thoughts of the future, personal dilemmas, fears, and accomplishments. His life humanizes the situation in Afghanistan, while simultaneously offering a thoughtful exploration of the U.S. objectives in that country and how we do, can, and might learn to define victory.
Camp Victory, Afghanistan, is not a film about battles. It is not about danger. Camp Victory, Afghanistan is a film about people: Americans and Afghans learning how to see each other-- learning to communicate. It is about the future, and how we as individuals can shape it simply by setting aside our preconceptions and trying to understand one another.
- Running time
- 84 and 56 minutes
- Carol Dysinger ... Director,Cinematographer,Producer
- Prod. Co.
- BOLO Productions LLC
- United States
- Years of Production
- 2005 to 2010
- Prod. Partners
- Release year
- SXSW,Human Rights Watch New York, MoMA Doc Fortnight,Little Rock
- Broadcast (Prod.)
- Broadcast (Acq.)
- American Broadcast for Public Television
- Dari, Pashto, English
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