Sunday, November 4, 2012

Seal Team Six; The Raid on Osama Bin Laden

Have I mentioned how much I am enjoying the New Media Photojournalsim program at the Corcoran College of Art and Design?  Of course I have...get used to it.  All my instructors are rock stars in their own right, and I am surrounded by an amazing group of motivated and fantastically talented classmates.  This week was another great example of the cool things that happen at Corcoran.  After hurricane Sandy delayed the world premier of "Seal Team Six; The Raid on Osama Bin Laden," Steve Elfers (Video Diretor at USA Today, and our advanced multimedia instructor) scored tickets for the class to attend the postponed premier on Thursday.

Going into the premier I knew two things - the movie's subject was the killing of Osama Bin Laden by Seal Team Six, and there was a swirl of controversy regarding the release date.  The list of things I didn't know far exceeded those I knew.  Was this a documentary?  Was it a mockumentary? Who produced it?  What message was the movie intended to convey?  These, and many other things became clear over the course of the evening.

Here is the easy stuff:  The movie is an action feature film that will be shown on the National Geographic Channel at 8pm on Sunday 4, November 2012.  The producer was Harvey Weinstein, and John Stockwell was the director.  The movie is a taut, face paced, fictionalized account of the Seal Team Six successful mission to kill Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011.  According to director John Stockwell, although the movie is a fictionalized account, it is factually based and reflects significant research as well as on-location consulting from former Navy Seals.

Our class was fortunate to spend 20 minutes "interrogating" Stockwell.  The highlight of the discussion was his regret that the film is being politicized.  Stockwell said his main goal was to get the details right.  His initial concept was not politically motivated, and included less stock footage that ultimately made it to final release - amplifying the political message.  The debate regarding political motivation in advance of the movie's release centers principally on the release date.  Just two days before election day, detractors claim "The timing of this film is absolutely ridiculous. For an Obama supporter to be releasing a ‘prObama’ film just before the election is a blatant attempt to sway voters. And liberals wonder why conservatives complain about Hollywood.”

This conservative commentator may have a point.  Maybe the Democrats should play by the Republican playbook and release a "tell-all, scandalizing, sex filled, you lied about your military record" propaganda piece about Governor Romney.  Personally, I prefer happy endings.  

I encourage you to watch the film this evening at 8pm on National Geographic...that is, of course, if you are sufficiently sentient and thereby capable of watching a movie and not being swayed to vote according to the whims of evil hollywood producers.  If you are incapable of independent thought, I'm sure there is an episode of "Biggest Loser" just a click away.

Thanks to Oliver Contreras for the photographs.