Where Soldiers Come From
Documentary Feature
$10 online or at the door.
Saturday Jul 2, 2011
8:00PMDoors Open
8:30PMLive Music by Zeb Gould
9:00PMFilm Begins
10:30PMQ&A with filmmaker Heather Courtney and U.S. veterans of the war in Afghanistan
11:00PMReception in Courtyard
In the event of rain the show will be rescheduled for a later date ~ No refunds ~ Seating is first come, first served. Physical seats are limited. This means you may not get a chair. You are welcome to bring a blanket and sit picnic-style, but no alcohol is permitted.

The Old American Can Factory
(on the roof)
Roof and Courtyard
232 Third St. at 3rd Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215
F/G to Carroll St. or R to Union


This Show Presented in Partnership With
XO Projects
New York Magazine

On July 4th weekend, Rooftop presents a journey from a snowy small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, following childhood friends forever changed by a faraway war.

The first hundred veterans to rsvp to vetsrsvp@rooftopfilms get in free!

As we go through our daily lives, consumed by the stresses and joys of work, family, and friends, It is easy to forget that our country is at war. Where Soldiers Come From is a startling reminder of the reality of that war and its ongoing effects on many of our country’s young men and women. Constructed with a masterful combination of tender intimacy and hard-hitting insight, this is a film that every American should see. Director Heather Courtney and young U.S. veterans of the war in Afghanistan will be there in person to answer for a Q&A after the film.


Where Soldiers Come From (Heather Courtney | Austin, TX | 90 min.)
With the Fourth of July right around the corner, Rooftop Films brings you a profoundly patriotic and personal portrait of how the war in Afghanistan has affected and continues to affect our youth, our families, and our communities.

Where Soldiers Come From is not an anti-war movie, although it exposes the horrors of warfare more effectively than more heavy handed anti-war works have been able to do. It does this by eschewing rhetoric and political agenda in favor of an affectionate but penetrating documentary style.

Through the unblinking eyes of Courtney’s camera, we follow a group of childhood best friends in rural Northern Michigan from their teenage decision to enlist, to the tension and turmoil of Afghanistani battlefields, and back to the less dramatic but more harrowing return to civilian life as twenty-three year old battle worn veterans.

The friends, once boys who greeted the prospect of battle with an adolescent’s awe-filled anticipation, are transformed into world-weary men. Men who must now face the consequences thrust upon them by their service: post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, promised veterans’ benefits held out of reach by bureaucratic red tape. Watching their innocence be stripped away in layers, like paint from a wall, is heartbreaking. Watching the pain of their parents, sisters, and girlfriends, first at the absence of the young soldiers and then at the struggles of their return, is equally tragic.

More importantly however, Courtney’s steady directorial gaze makes it impossible for an audience to turn away from the burden shouldered by our men and women in uniform. It takes the debate over the war in Afghanistan out of the realm of vague and lofty discourse and back to the realm of human beings. In doing this, it paints the most universally relevant picture of this war so far.

- Lela Scott MacNeil

A Short Film About War (Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead | 10 min.)
A Short film about War is a narrative documentary artwork made entirely from information found on the worldwide web. In ten minutes viewers are taken around the world to a variety of war zones as seen through the collective eyes of the online photo sharing community Flickr, and as witnessed by a variety of existing military and civilian bloggers. As the ostensibly documentary 'film' plays itself out, a second screen logs the provenance of images, blog fragments and gps locations of each element comprising the work, so that the same information is simultaneously communicated to the viewer in two parallel formats -on one hand as dramatised reportage and on the other hand as a text log. In offering this tautology, we are attempting to explore and reveal the way in which information changes as it is gathered, edited and then mediated through networked communications technologies or broadcast media, and how that changes and distorts meaning -especially for (the generally wealthy minority of) the world's users of high speed broadband networks, who have become used to the treacherously persuasive panoptic view that google earth (and the worldwide web) appears to give us.


Zeb Gould
Zeb Gould, a New York based songwriter and guitarist, was born and bred in the mid-west where he began the guitar at a young age. He has opened for such acts as Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and worked with artists such as Philip Glass and Nico Muhly. His influences range from Leo Kottke and John Fahey to Neil Young and Daniel Johnston, and he is also involved with several other projects including Bowery Boy Blue, Stereofan and The Goodwill Orchestra.

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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