Chicago Armory to Hold DVD Premiere Screening of "Brothers at War"

January 7, 2010 11:26:39 AM PST
(News Release)The Illinois National Guard Calumet Avenue Armory, home of the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, will host a free pre-DVD release screening of the documentary Brothers at War for Soldiers and their families Jan. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at 1910 S. Calumet Avenue, Chicago. Following the movie, there will be a question and answer session with the movie's producer and director Jake Rademacher, a Decatur native and former Chicago resident.

Brothers at War is an intimate portrait of an American family during a turbulent time. Rademacher sets out to understand the experience, sacrifice, and motivation of his two brothers serving in Iraq. The film follows Rademacher's exploits as he risks everything, including his life, to tell his brothers' story. Often humorous, but sometimes downright lethal, Brothers at War is a journey where Jake embeds with four combat units in Iraq. Access to U.S. and Iraqi combat units took him behind the camouflage curtain with secret reconnaissance troops on the Syrian border, into National Guard sniper "hide sites" in the Sunni Triangle, through raging machine gun battles with the Iraqi Army.

"Having the opportunity to witness up close and personal what the Soldiers in the National Guard are doing for us on the frontlines gave me a deep appreciation for them. Many soldiers from the Illinois National Guard recently returned from Afghanistan, where they took casualties. This screening is a small way for us to say thank you for their sacrifices and their achievements," said Rademacher.

To date, Brothers at War has raised more than $100,000 for non-profit veteran's organizations via benefit screenings and DVD sales. After winning the best documentary at the 2008 G.I. Film Festival in D.C., Samuel Goldwyn Films made the film one of the few documentaries to get released in movie theaters every year when they released it in five cities, including Chicago last March. Due to audience demand, the film eventually played in more than 60 cities.

"Brothers at War celebrates the courage and integrity of the American Soldier and the American military family. It is also a film about a man's love and respect for his two brothers and his dedication to telling their story. A great film that I am proud to be a part of," said Gary Sinise, one of the executive producers of the film and star of CSI: New York.

The documentary is a story about the war in Iraq and its impact on the Soldiers and their families. When Rademacher's two brothers were scheduled to deploy to Iraq, he followed them to understand the motivation behind their service. He was embedded with four combat units for six weeks in Iraq, including a reconnaissance unit, a sniper team and a Marine unit in Fallujah. During that time, he was caught in a firefight, sat with sniper teams in the Sunni Triangle and was hit by an improvised explosive device.

"Brothers at War has been the most terrifying, soul searching and gratifying thing I have ever done," Rademacher said. The film has been shown in more than 60 cities and won best documentary at the 2008 GI Film Festival in Washington, D.C.

"This film says everything about military families that I've been trying to tell the American people for the last five or six years," said Gary Sinise, one of the executive producers of the film and star of CSI: New York.

Sinise, who played Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, was recently awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal for exemplary service and support to the U.S. troops, the second highest honor to be awarded to a civilian. Since 2003, Sinise has been to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as bases around the world, in support of the troops and is a spokesman for American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Foundation. Col. Tom Purple of Chicago, deputy commander of the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, said the brigade is honored to host such an event. "The movie honors Soldiers and their family members for their service to our great nation," he said. "Our Soldiers and military families have a story to tell and this movie helps by opening the dialogue of why we answer the call to service. Producer Jake Rademacher honors his brothers with the movie."

After the screening, signed copies of the movie will be available for purchase with 10 percent of the proceeds going to Illinois Military Family Relief Fund. To date, sales of the DVDs have raised more than $100,000 for non-profit veteran's organizations. "The 404th would also like to honor Jake for presenting a view of Soldiers and families as they face the challenges of war," Purple said.