Further encouraging interaction between citizens and veterans, an extensive online initiative will take place on Veterans Day, Saturday November 11th. As part of the ongoing multi-platform distribution and marketing effort for director/producer Patricia Foulkrod's new documentary feature film The Ground Truth, Focus Features and AOL are co-hosting the event. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement.
The live chat event will begin at 1:00 PM EST on Saturday, November 11th, at www.thegroundtruth.net.
The event will link thousands of online users in direct dialogues with returning Iraq War soldiers (some from The Ground Truth) as well as Veterans of previous Wars. A host of celebrities have also been invited to participate, including Academy Award winners Cher, Paul Haggis, and Susan Sarandon; and actors Amy Brenneman, Vondie Curtis Hall, Diane Lane, Wendie Malick, and Olivia Wilde.
Cher said, "The Ground Truth is an incredible, powerful film that exposes the horrific toll that the war in Iraq is taking on our American soldiers. It reveals the terrible truth about the magnitude of the injuries - both physical and psychological - that many of our troops are experiencing in this war. This is a truth that no one is talking about - not in the media and certainly not in the government. Rarely have I been so profoundly affected by a film. Everyone in America should see The Ground Truth." The Ground Truings about this
Mr. Schamus added, "This year Focus is proud to help Americans celebrate Veterans Day by participating in real dialogue with soldiers whose voices demand to be heard."
This special online chat is powered by technology from Userplane, a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL. Userplane (www.userplane.com) is the world's premier communication platform for online communities. The company's hosted applications enable instant community and communication for websites of any scale and audience. The combination of instant and elegant with robust and powerful has made the platform a must-have for thriving sites worldwide - supporting millions of daily users.
AOL's customized AIM® Pages profile for The Ground Truth (www.aimpages.com/thegroundtruth) continues to link to the film's featured American soldiers' blogs and exclusive on-demand video that include personal profiles, war testimonials and "vlogs" (video diary entries) uploaded during the film's national promotional tour. The Ground Truth AIM Page expands the voices of these veterans through user-generated video, photos, blogs, and comments, providing a forum for debate and self-expression. Comprehensive information about veterans services organizations and support groups are also available on the film's AIM Pages profile. The AIM Pages service, presently in public beta at http://www.aimpages.com/, is an innovative social networking service that lets people build personalized Web profiles for creative self-expression and communication with friends around the world.
The film was released theatrically by Focus earlier this year; Universal Studios Home Entertainment issued a special edition DVD in late September. 10% of the proceeds of each DVD sale goes to Operation Helmet, which was created to meet the needs of the many soldiers who still do not have proper helmets.
The Ground Truth stunned audiences at the 2006 Sundance and Nantucket Film Festivals, and won the Best Documentary award at the Boston Film Festival. Hailed as "the finest film to come out of 9/11 and the Iraq War" (Richard Corliss, Time Magazine) and "a cinematic call to arms" (Claudia Puig, USA Today), "the message of Ground Truth cannot be dismissed." (John Anderson, Variety) Ms. Foulkrod produced and directed the film, which is a Ground Truth production in association with Radioaktivefilm and Plum Pictures.
The subjects of The Ground Truth are patriotic young Americans - ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq - as they experience 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. As these battles take shape, each soldier becomes a new kind of hero, bearing witness and giving support to other veterans, and learning to fearlessly wield the most powerful weapon of all - the truth.