“Highly recommended.” —Video Librarian
"I hope, for the sake of peace, that young people all over the country will see ARLINGTON WEST and come face to face with the consequences of war." —Howard Zinn
"Very touching and greatly appreciated!" —Congressman John Murtha
"A very important film. Beautifully photographed!" —Haskell Wexler
“It’s brilliant and provocative because we get to see both sides.” —UCLA Student
“A visual poem!” —LAUSD Teacher
"This documentary changed my life!" —Norwalk High Student
“It’s a Masterpiece!” —USC Graduate Student
“It’s a film By The People, For The People.” —CAL ARTS Student
“I couldn’t speak for a whole hour after watching it.” —East LA High School Student
“This film should be shown to everyone in the whole WORLD!” —L.A. Elementary School Student
“Student interest was much higher than any film I’ve screened in my classroom.” —LAUSD Teacher
ARLINGTON WEST: 74 minutes, DVD
THIS FILM COULD SAVE THE LIFE OF SOMEONE YOU KNOW AND LOVE!
Viewing this riveting documentary changes the way you feel about Life, Love, and War!
Without any experience in video, filmmaking, or computers, and practically no funding, artists Sally Marr & Peter Dudar set forth to capture the historic struggle that was unfolding around them. Their commitment to seeing this story shared with children and teenagers was the driving force that enabled them to overcome all obstacles. With many small donations and the assistance of friends, they videotaped and edited over 250 hours of modern history from February 2003 to May 2008. Through interviews with hundreds of people: soldiers, veterans, military families, community leaders, children, teenagers, historians, teachers, and artists, they have witnessed and recorded the authentic voices of our era that have been completely neglected by mainstream media.
Both Sally and Peter are accomplished in the fine arts. Sally is a painter, sculptor, art teacher, actor, photographer and writer. Peter is a composer, sculptor, pianist, calligrapher, painter, teacher and poet. It is this diverse background and their highly developed aesthetic sensibilities that inform the cinematic work that they have created. No matter what your point of view is about the events of these critical times, this documentary rings with honesty and truth that expands viewers’ minds and opens their hearts.
ARLINGTON WEST is the first film to come out of this process. Every Sunday for three years, they worked with Veterans For Peace to help make this solemn tribute a reality and ensure that the people who came to honor the fallen were given the chance to have their voices included. No one was denied the opportunity to express their feelings and ideas. With the media continuing to under-represent the human toll of war and the government escalating the conflict with no end in sight, it became urgent to get this first film into the public forum.
Over the last years they have screened this work-in-progress to thousands of people in community centers, schools, theaters, churches and homes. Sally and Peter are available for screenings, talk shows, discussions and interviews. They welcome the opportunity to see their film distributed to the widest possible audience and have therefore made the DVD available on their website. Anyone wishing to sell, distribute, display or promote this powerful documentary film is invited to contact Sally and Peter to make the necessary arrangements.
Phone: (323) 650-8166
Commentary by James Seligman
ARLINGTON WEST is a must see film that will move most people to tears, whether they are people who may have supported the war in Iraq, people who have been undecided or peace activists. This is the strength of this very moving and beautifully made movie. Filmmakers Peter Dudar and Sally Marr are long time artists, and humanitarians. They have put together a work that will reach people on many different levels. The background music, which is so beautifully performed by Peter Dudar, makes the journey through this film all the more poignant and meaningful. I give ARLINGTON WEST my highest rating and recommend that you buy it and share it with others ASAP!
WHITE CROSSES IN PARADISE
Arlington West. A documentary produced for Veterans for Peace under the direction of Peter Dudar and Sally Marr. Screens Friday, November 12, 6 p.m., as part of the Veterans for Peace Film Festival at the Victoria Hall Theater.
Simple white crosses, first planted on the sands of Santa Barbara's West Beach and watered with just the right amount of public attention, have sprouted into a national phenomena and become the de facto burial ground for the more than 1,000 American soldiers killed since the war in Iraq began in March 2003. With this project, started by Veterans for Peace (and paralleled in Santa Monica and Oceanside) as an earnest reflection for the dead military personnel that the American government announces every day with no fanfare or memorials, the weekly temporary cemetery — deemed ARLINGTON WEST — has attracted attention from around the world. This film of the same name does justice to the message.
Apparently started around the time the 500th American soldier was killed — which, incidentally, was nearly 400 deaths after President Bush declared major combat operations complete — the film relies on the simple story of the crosses and those who come to observe them. In a series of close-up interviews with proud and inquisitive soldiers, grieving relatives, and passersby of all ages intermixed with longer pans of the crosses and mourners in action; ARLINGTON WEST provides a meaningful glimpse at a questionable war. Characters include everyone from cute, forward-thinking kids to ignorant, backward-thinking adults. The filmmakers also gave space for pro-war folks to speak their piece.
Particularly disturbing are the veterans who speak of post-war syndromes and warn that these dead soldiers are only half of the story — that when these soldiers come back, we'll have another post-Vietnam population of self-medicating veterans. Among other tear-jerking, heartfelt memories of fallen friends and family — all under the lens of "why?" — the scene of a young soldier who lays flowers and kisses on the crosses of more than two dozen of his former mates reigns as memorable. But most troublesome of all — and perhaps the point that the pro-war folks are missing most — is the sign early on in the film that announces, "If we were to honor the Iraqi dead, it would fill this entire beach."
If it goes on much longer, we may need to bring in some more sand.
—Reviewed by Matt Kettmann, Santa Barbara Independent