By Leo Shane III
Retired Army Capt. Jonathan Powers said he was moved by the documentary "Gunner Palace," which followed his 2nd Field Artillery Battalion through Iraq in May 2003.
And in his eyes, it's even more emotional now that proceeds from the DVD will help families of soldiers injured in war zones.
On Tuesday, the film's production company announced it would donate $10,000 and a portion of the DVD sales to the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing for families of wounded and ill soldiers.
James Weiskopf, spokesman for the Fisher House Foundation, said the pledge is the first his group has seen from a production company and praised the donation as an important aid for injured soldiers.
The foundation currently has 33 housing facilities, and five more that are planned will be set aside for OIF and OEF families only, Weiskopf said. Ground has been broken for houses in Washington, Florida and Kentucky, and construction is expected to start in California and Texas later this year.
The DVD will sell for $24.99, with 25 cents from each movie sold donated to the Fisher House. Palm Pictures' general manager Lisa Nishimura said the company is currently in negotiations to sell the DVD at military exchanges, including those in Iraq.
The film contrasts the lavish living quarters of the battalion � based at Odai Hussein's Azimiya Palace � with the harsh realities of life in a war zone. Filmmaker Michael Tucker spent two months with the unit, and has spent the last year touring the country with the documentary.
Tucker said so far the film hasn't been screened for troops in Iraq � a few media- only screenings have been held in the Middle East � but he is excited for the chance for those servicemembers to see the documentary.
"When we screened the film at Fort Benning (Ga.), the soldiers there were very moved but they also saw things that no one else did, and laughed at things that other people didn't think were funny," he said. "It's an honest portrayal.
"Civilians, when they see this film, they still aren't really connected to it. The families and soldiers, this is their life."
The DVD will reach stores June 28.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski