About the Film
The Situation, the first U.S. feature film that focuses on the occupation in Iraq, attempts to portray the conflict fairly and accurately. The film is co-written by director Philip Haas and journalist Wendell Steavenson, who spent a year reporting from Iraq. Strategically filmed in Morocco with a cast including many local actors, The Situation adeptly illustrates the interactions between Iraqis and American soldiers.
Producer Liaquat Ahamed said the idea for the film was inspired by “the feeling that, though the papers were full of Iraq, no one seemed to be able to understand it. People had a hunger to get inside the Middle East. [â€¦] News 4 reports were somehow unable to satisfy that curiosity.” Despite the mass media coverage of the war in Iraq, many people remain confused and lack a working understanding of the war and the United States’ role in the conflict. Director Philip Haas hoped to create a story that audiences could understand. He said, “you see the human toll, but at the same time you’re deadened by the newspaper reports. You just can’t get underneath it, because you’re bombarded by information, by reporting, by the numbers of injured and the dead. You become numb to it. And so it seemed that if you actually tried to make a narrative of it, you might be able, if not to explain it, then at least to illuminate it.”
Using the medium of a fictional film rather than a documentary puts an intimate human face on the events and statistics that get lost in the headlines. The screenwriter, Steavenson said, “Being able to see an image, being able to see a character, to follow a character, particularly when they’re not American, can be a lot more powerful than reading about it in a news story or a magazine article.” Co-writers Philip Haas and Wendell Steavenson have developed a very human portrayal, with characters that seem like real people rather than stereotypes.
About the Director
Philip Haas has directed many feature films, including the Oscar-nominated Angels and Insects (1995), Up at the Villa (2000), The Music of Chance (1993), and The Blood Oranges (1997). Haas was awarded a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation for his documentaries on contemporary visual artists. His documentary work has been shown on television and at museums across the world.
About the Panelists
Robert H. Scales, Jr. a Major General, served more than thirty years in the army, and ended his military career as Commandant of the United States Army War College. General Scales commanded two units in Vietnam, winning the Silver Star for action during the battles around Dong Ap Bia (Hamburger Hill) in 1969. He has written and lectured extensively on warfare, and is the author of three books on military history: Certain Victory, the official account of the army in the Gulf War, Firepower in Limited War, a history of the evolution of firepower doctrine, and The Iraq War: A Military History. General Scales has also written two books on the theory of warfare. He is a frequent commentator and consultant for major media networks relating to military history and defense policy, and is the military analyst for National Public Radio and Fox News Network. General Scales is a graduate of West Point and earned his Ph.D. in history from Duke University.
Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a retired United States Army Colonel, served as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff and as associate director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff under the directorship of Ambassador Richard N. Haas. Before serving at the State Department, Colonel Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army, including as Deputy Executive officer to then-General Colin Powell when he commanded U.S. Army Forces Command, Special Assistant to General Powell when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as director and deputy director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia. Colonel Wilkerson is a veteran of the Vietnam War and has participated in military exercises throughout the Pacific. He holds two advanced degrees in International Relations and National Security Studies, and has written extensively on military and national security affairs. He has served on the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College, the College of William and Mary, and George Washington University.
Steven Clemons directs the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy institute in Washington that promotes robust debate about the complex challenges and opportunities of the contemporary era. Mr. Clemons is also a senior fellow at New America, publisher of the political blog, The Washington Note, and a long-term policy practitioner. He has served as executive vice president of the Economic Strategy Institute, senior policy advisor on Economic and International Affairs to Senator Jeff Bingaman and was the first executive director of the Nixon Center. Prior to moving to Washington, Mr. Clemons served for seven years as executive director of the Japan America Society of Southern California, and co-founded the Japan Policy Institute, of which he is still director. Mr. Clemons writes frequently on matters of foreign policy, defense, and international economic policy. His work has appeared in many leading journals and magazines around the world.
The view the trailer, please click on the link below.