Operation Homecoming Documentary Wins Two
Washington, DC -- The documentary Operation Homecoming, based on the National Endowment for the Arts' (NEA) remarkable anthology and program on wartime writing, received two Emmy® Awards in the News & Documentary category. The film, which aired on PBS in April 2007 as part of the America at a Crossroads series, received awards in two categories: Outstanding Informational Programming - Long Form and Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Craft: Music and Sound. Operation Homecoming, which also received a 2008 Academy Award® nomination, was produced by The Documentary Group and directed by Richard Robbins. The 29th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards were presented by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Monday, September 22 in New York City.
The film depicts powerful writings featured in Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families (Random House, 2006). Selections show a range of emotions. “Camp Muckamungus” by Airman Edward “Parker” Gyokeres is a wry look at the absurdities of day-to-day life in the desert. “Road Work” by Jack Lewis is a heartbreaking account of the unintended victims of a roadside accident in northern Iraq. The film contains dramatic readings by actors including Robert Duvall, Blair Underwood and the contributors themselves. Interviews with established writers Tobias Wolff (In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War) and Tim O'Brien (The Things They Carried) explore the larger themes of wartime writing.
"Once again, The Documentary Group has been recognized for its unforgettable presentation of the troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "We are delighted that the Operation Homecoming program has inspired this compelling work."
The source for the award-nominated film and the book is the groundbreaking NEA program, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. Since 2004, the NEA Operation Homecoming writing program has collected the stories of U.S. military personnel and their families. With support from The Boeing Company, Operation Homecoming has brought more than 60 writing workshops to troops at more than 30 domestic and overseas military installations from Camp Pendleton in California to USS Carl Vinson in the Persian Gulf and Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. Among the original workshop teachers are distinguished writers Tobias Wolff, Jeff Shaara, Marilyn Nelson, Richard Bausch, Bobbie Ann Mason, Joe Haldeman, and Mark Bowden. The program now brings writing workshops to VA medical centers and affiliated centers in the U.S. and abroad.
In tandem with the workshops, the Arts Endowment has offered an open call for writing submissions to active military personnel and their families. This ongoing call has resulted in more than 1,200 submissions and 12,000 pages of writings. Almost 100 of the submissions to the NEA were featured in the Operation Homecoming anthology. Edited by noted expert on wartime correspondence Andrew Carroll, the anthology was named one of the "Best of 2006" in nonfiction by The Washington Post Book World.
Other Operation Homecoming resources
Operation Homecoming has been administered by the NEA in partnership with the Southern Arts Federation. The initiative was made possible by generous support from The Boeing Company, which has helped the NEA bring numerous quality arts and arts education programs to military communities nationwide and overseas. Information on Operation Homecoming, a guide for writers, essays, streaming video of writing workshops, and audio clips are available at www.OperationHomecoming.org.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest annual national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
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