Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Kirby Dick Talks Oscar-Nominated 'Invisible War,' Re-releasing This Weekend in NY and LA [UPDATE]

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 18, 2013 at 2:07PM

Kirby Dick's "The Invisible War" has snagged one of the coveted five competing spots for the Academy's Best Documentary Oscar, and will be released January 18 at the Film Society at Lincoln Center and at Laemmle's Santa Monica, Pasadena and Claremont theaters January 19...
3
Leon Panetta
Leon Panetta

But change is coming. After Sundance, the filmmakers undertook a massive screening campaign for influencers around the country, especially Washington, D.C., media, major non-profits, retried generals, the Department of Defense, and the Obama administration. Eventually a screener of the film got to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, although not directly from the filmmakers.

According to Dick, soon after Panetta saw the film he held an  April press conference laying out planned changes in the rules governing sexual assault in the military: commanders would pass investigations to an outside, higher-ranked colonel or captain, moving the prosecution up the level of command; each armed forces branch would have a Special Victims Unit, and more prosecutions would be pursued. At the White House Correspondents dinner, Panetta thanked executive producer Jennifer Siebil Newsom (wife of California lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom) for making the film and said he was moved by it.

Dick is "cautiously optimistic. These first steps will lead to improvements." But having investigations stay within the chain of command still leaves open the potential for conflicts of interest, he says. And some of Panetta's proposals still have to be ratified in Congress: "It's a start. We advocate that people have to be moved outside chain of command so an arbiter makes the decision to investigate or prosecute, as is done in all civilian systems."

Invisible War tweet
Invisible War tweet

Having seen the film, at a July 25 joint hearing of the House Armed Services and House Veterans Affairs Committees, Massachusetts Representative Niki Tsongas (see tweet) brought up "The Invisible War" to Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki (video below), who had seen it the day before. In the hearing she told Shinseki she was "heartened" by his interest in the film, and remarked how the film "painfully highlights" the bureaucratic hurdles that survivors of sexual assault have endure to get their proper benefits.

Showing the film seems to have an effect. To keep applying pressure on the government, the filmmakers have pulled together splinter groups --  sexual assault, veterans, human rights, and Protect Our Defenders--into an umbrella coalition called Invisible No More. A May screening of the film at an Armed Forces Sexual Harrassment/Assault Prevention Summit had a significant impact, says Dick. "We heard immediately that people wanted to order the film, the Army itself seems very proactive on using this film, ordered it for a number of bases, scheduled dozens of screenings at military establishments. We expect hundreds over the next year."

While Dick was prepared for some real resistance or counterattack from the military establishment, "in fact that has not happened," he says. "They've been receptive in using the film in training." That's because the film helps to put a human face on the suffering these attacks cause, and the lmited tools available for people dealing with sexual assault. "People on the ground know it's a problem and are doing everything they can to address the problem with tools that are ineffectual," says Dick. "They're glad to get hold of the film, to show exactly what happens." Seeing the film, in other words, hits you in the gut in a way that reading clinical reports simply does not.

"The Invisible War"  is in theaters around the country; it should come out on iTunes this fall, followed by VOD (October 23). ITVS is scheduled to show the film as part of its Independent Lens series over Memorial Day 2013. 

This article is related to: Documentary, Documentaries, Sundance 2012 Films, Sundance, Academy Awards, Awards, Awards, Oscars, DVD and VOD


E-Mail Updates