Operation Homecoming Documentary Nominated for Academy Award®
Film based on NEA anthology on wartime writing is among five finalists for Oscar®
For immediate release
Washington, DC -- The documentary feature Operation Homecoming, inspired by the National Endowment of the Arts’ (NEA) acclaimed anthology and program on wartime writing, has been nominated for an Academy Award®. The film was produced by The Documentary Group and directed by Richard Robbins. The Academy Awards will be broadcast live on February 24, 2008.
The film brings to life the letters, journals, poems, and essays featured in Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families, an anthology published by Random House in September 2006. The anthology, edited by the award-winning author Andrew Carroll, includes nearly 100 letters, poems, stories, and memoirs of service and sacrifice on the front lines and at home. The book was named one of the "Best of 2006" in nonfiction by The Washington Post Book World.
The film and book have their origins in a groundbreaking National Endowment for the Arts program, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. This NEA program preserves the stories and reflections of U.S. military personnel and their families. With support from The Boeing Company, the NEA Operation Homecoming program brought 59 writing workshops to troops at 27 domestic and overseas military installations from Camp Pendleton in California to USS Carl Vinson in the Persian Gulf to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. Workshops were taught by distinguished writers including Tobias Wolff, Jeff Shaara, Bobbie Ann Mason, Joe Haldeman, and Mark Bowden. The Boeing Company also supported the production of the Oscar®-nominated documentary.
"When we asked the troops and their families to write freely about their time in combat and the home front, we had no idea they would come forward with so many compelling, stirring, and revealing stories about the wartime experience," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "The Documentary Group has brought those stories to the screen in a way that beautifully preserves and amplifies these original voices. We’re very proud to have one of our programs inspire such a powerful work of cinematic art."
"This is an enormous honor, and we're thrilled," said Tom Yellin, President of The Documentary Group. "The NEA’s Operation Homecoming writing project was conceived to give voice to the men and women and their families who serve in the armed forces, and it is very gratifying to us to be able to make a film that allows those voices to be heard by more people. We had no idea when we started making this documentary that any of this would happen, and I think it shows how important it is to understand the military experience as expressed by those who live it."
In addition, the Arts Endowment 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. Additionally, the NEA will preserve all submissions in a federal government archive.
The Arts Endowment has supported several documentaries which have received Academy Awards, including In the Shadow of the Stars (1991), The Stone Carvers (1984), and Harlan County U.S.A. (1976). The Operation Homecoming documentary is the first Academy Award nomination based on a program conducted directly by the National Endowment for the Arts.
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, essays on writing, streaming video of writing workshops, and audio clips are available at www.OperationHomecoming.org
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The NEA 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 national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal