Laura Cross is a writer, producer, director, and founder of Rebel Seed Studio. Her family has fought in every American conflict since The Revolution.
Devil Dogs is Laura’s first produced short film. She spent two years researching the battle of Fallujah prior to shooting the movie.
If, as a nation, we are going to choose to engage in conflict, the only way to make better decisions, and informed decisions, about war and how we’re going to operate, is to be aware of the truth of what has transpired on the ground as well as behind closed doors, and to expose it for debate and investigation.
The real story of this particular event, and the motivations of the participants, are complex and multi-layered. There are many ways to approach this story. I chose, in the length of time I have available in a short format, to focus on the individual stories of a team of young Marines and intersperse it with snippets of the media narrative – which, if it doesn’t directly oppose the Marine experience, is certainly conveying information that is foreign to them and against what they believe to be true. So whose truth is true? How do we determine what is true?
The media often has the power to choose what is hidden and what is exposed. Even if there is no malicious intent or a nefarious agenda, is it the truth if only part of the information is disseminated or only certain aspects of an event are revealed? And if the media is completely twisted or purposefully manipulated, do we have a responsibility to uncover the motive and hold the media or perpetrators accountable? We know from history that disinformation can have a significant impact on decision-making and policy, and in the case of war, on people’s lives.
These stories are important to understanding who we are, what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and where we’re going with it, and ultimately, they’re essential to informing our decisions about whether we want to do it again in the future or not. While it’s natural to feel that, as individuals, we have little impact on policy and the course our country takes, history has proven that ‘we the people’ do have incredible power. Information is power. It’s our responsibility to demand accurate and truthful information.
Though I’m presenting these events as a narrative story, not a documentary, and have wrapped and delivered it in the form of entertainment, I feel this is how I’m able to contribute to the process, and perform what I’ve been assigned to do in this life.