I first met Patricia Foulkrod (the director of The Ground Truth) almost two years ago now. It was September of 2004 during the first production of my play, The Sand Storm. Patricia was so passionate about the men & women fighting the war in Iraq and about our well being. I was impressed by what seemed a genuine need for her to give us a voice, so naturally when she asked if she could interview me for the film I obliged.
Over the next several months I kept in touch with Patricia during a very difficult time in my life. I was still an active-duty Marine stationed in Camp Lejeune, NC and had become very publicly against this administration's handling of the war in Iraq. Needless to say there were some pretty tense moments during the time I returned to Camp Lejeune from opening my play until I was honorably discharged in March of 2005. When I did get out, I returned to L.A. and did some follow up interviews with Patricia for the film.
In November of 2005 I received an excited call from Patricia telling me the film was accepted into Sundance and asked if I could make it to Park City, UT. That January that's where I was. Sundance was a great experience and seeing Patricia's courage and being exposed to such powerful work inspired my most recent project that I will be submitting to Sundance 2007, Homecoming. Patricia as an individual and The Ground Truth as a powerful piece of work have truly been an inspiration to me in my career.
There's so much that I hope this film will accomplish, but I believe the most important thing is that it forces Americans to pay more attention to what's being asked of young men and women in uniform. We, as citizens of this country, have a responsibility to be aware of what is going down in our name and I believe far too many of the populace have been ignoring that fact for the past three years. There's a war that's been going on since March of 2003. Hundreds of thousands of troops have served there now. As of today, the DOD count is 2,578 that have perished and over 20,000 that have been wounded. There are no official numbers on the number that have been injured. No official figures have been released on the numbers affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other "invisible" scars of war. So yeah, without a doubt, the most important thing that this film could accomplish is to wake folks the hell up!
For those familiar with the entertainment industry, it goes without saying that there was no way to foresee where this film would go back then. For those unfamiliar with this industry I can assure you that the path that led to this point (just a few days from the theatrical release of the movie at Landmark Cinemas on September 15th) was completely unpredictable. Out of hundreds of films submitted to Sundance for the 2006 festival, The Ground Truth was one of just a dozen selected. From there, Focus Features acquiring it for distribution is every film maker's dream (I'm a film maker...trust me on that one). It has truly been an amazing journey for all of us associated with it, and in my case, that journey began when Patricia met me in a 30 seat basement theatre in Hollywood.
For those not in the 8 cities the film will be playing theatrically, check the additional cities nationwide - go to: www.thegroundtruth.net/, or you can host a gathering/viewing in your "neck of the woods" by signing up @ www.thegroundtruth.net or simply pick up the DVD @ www.groundtruthstore.seenon.com.