“America’s moved on.”
Those were the words that I heard from soldiers and veterans in 2014. They were talking about the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan, our country’s longest-running war. By year 13, the struggles and courageous work our men and women in the military were doing daily had become common place – and sometimes taken for granted.
I decided the story of how we were ending America’s longest war needed to be told. And not from the safety of a production set, but from the ground. It needed to be told from the places where the soldiers were on point for the nation. Where young Americans were working on the sometimes messy, and always exhausting, effort of winding down America’s longest war.
I decided to go there with a small film crew and we eventually spent 100 days embedded with soldiers in the austere, and sometimes dangerous, conditions they were living and operating in.
What resulted after compiling and editing more than 650 hours of footage was “The Fighting Season”, a 6-part documentary series that premiered on AUDIENCE Network in 2015.
This year, AUDIENCE Network and my production company teamed up again to create “My Fighting Season”, premiering July 5 (Audience Network,DIRECTV channel 239, AT&T U-verse channel 1114 at 8 PM ET/PT). The new AT&T Original Documentary series will tell the story of America’s longest war from a soldier’s perspective.
The show combines real footage filmed by deployed military members, plus personal interviews to tell their individual stories. You can see the trailer for the new season here.
With the 2016 AFI DOCS festival in Washington, D.C., starting June 22, we thought it was the perfect place to premiere the first episode. AT&T is a presenting sponsor of the festival and will host some of the soldiers in the first episode and other guests for a private screening and Q&A.
AT&T is helping every one of these soldiers share their remarkable stories. For me, the purpose of this project is to shed light on modern warfare and what it takes to be a soldier. More importantly, I want the public to understand the sacrifices and dedication of our soldiers. I also want soldiers to watch this series and be able to say to their friends and family, “If you want to know what Afghanistan is like, watch this.”
Ricky Schroder is a director, producer and owner of Ricky Schroder Productions. Schroder was the Executive Producer and cameraman for The Fighting Season, which debuted on DIRECTV in 2015. The 6 part mini-series follows American Troops while deployed in Afghanistan in year 13 of the longest war in history. My Fighting Season is focused on hearing the real stories of soldiers in combat. My Fighting Season will premiere on DIRECTV’s AUDIENCE Network on July 5, 2016 (AUDIENCE Network, DIRECTV channel 239, AT&T U-verse channel 1114 at 8 PM ET/PT)
AFI DOCS is the leading film festival in the U.S. dedicated to screenings and events that connect audiences, filmmakers and policy leaders in the seat of our nation’s government. On June 22, audiences will be able to explore 94 films from over 30 different countries highlighting a number of social issues – from infertility to war to activism.
For more information on AT&T’s sponsorship of the 2016 AFI DOCS film festival, the full schedule of events and ticket information, visit afi.com/afidocs.
Ricky Schroder, executive producer of the upcoming “My Fighting Season” and executive producer of 2015’s “The Fighting Season”