Soldier (working title)

A video history project by Louise Rubacky and Perry Pickert

Soldier ( working title) A Project of Filmmakers Collaborative

About this project:

PRODUCER/DIRECTORS: Louise Rubacky & Perry Pickert

SOLDIER is a non-partisan public interest video history project. Filming women and men veterans from all over the U.S. and from diverse backgrounds, we ask what each expected from and/or understood about military deployment before enlisting, and how that matched up to their experiences.

Within this framing, we inquire about the factors that led each soldier to enlist and/or the recruitment experience, as well as how much time went into the decision to join the military. We ask each about their physical and mental transitions during boot camp and deployment, and if they felt prepared for war zone service and returning home. Finally, we ask each veteran what s/he would tell a young person considering enlisting in the military.

The U.S. has been at war for 15 years, with volunteer forces. If young people are to fully understand the complex experiences soldiers face before, during, and after deployment, soldier stories must be made easily and widely available to the public.

Many of the soldiers we plan to film are from units deployed since 9/11, but we also talk to soldiers who were deployed in earlier wars.


We have filmed over 13 hours of interviews, and recorded another several hours of audio pre-interviews. After completing a sample reel, we will work on fundraising for continuance and expansion. Other veterans across the U.S. have agreed to be filmed, which we will do as funding allows. Through these and other contacts, we will continue to connect with more veterans whose stories we can film.

A website dedicated to the video archive is planned, and we have begun building a network of websites for cross-linking, so the site can be found and shared easily. Once the archive is diversely and regionally representative of our country, we will work on funding to begin filming international war veterans for inclusion in our archive and multi-platform availability.

Of the veterans we have spoken to, a number are participating in some form of artistic work or community engagement that deals with their wartime experiences, and we will also discuss the possibility of integrating these commemorations with permission.

We also sense that a feature length documentary film will emerge from the material, possibly on artistic responses to war service, but we cannot project its shape at this stage.

We expect that SOLDIER will be a long-term project.


Louise Rubacky has over 20 years of experience in fiction and non-fiction filmmaking. She co-wrote, produced and edited the independent feature The Cherokee Word for Water, a 2013 drama about a time in Wilma Mankiller's life that established her leadership, and led to her election as Chief of the Nation. Louise also wrote and co-directed the documentary There's Something About W, about the failed promises and policies of the Bush Administration, and has made other short documentaries. Having begun her career in editing, she helped shape stories for many directors, including George Lucas, Francis Coppola, and Jean- Jacques Annaud.

Perry Pickert co-founded Friday's Films in 2003 to make the documentary Hanging in the Balance: The Future of Fishing in the Bahamas, which tells a unique story of the environmental trials of their fisherman. The film sparked local change, as well as a variety of related productions across the Pacific, Asia, and the Caribbean. Perry also produced and shot second unit footage for The Cherokee Word for Water, the narrative feature film about Cherokee Nation leader Wilma Mankiller. He continues to produce and direct promotional and educational films for non-profits and corporations at Friday's Films in San Francisco, and has served as a long-time consultant to the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival.