SF International Film Festival I saw The Kill Team, a morally fraught documentary about a group of US soldiers convicted of killing unarmed Afghan civilians in 2010 for sport. The film focuses on the military court trial of Adam Winfield, who attempted to alert the military to what was going on through facebook chats with his father but ended up being charged with manslaughter for failing to prevent a murder. At the core of the film are interviews with the soldiers, whose appealing youth & clear intelligence are difficult to reconcile with their crimes. Jeremy Morlock, captured in a photo gleefully holding the head of a dead teenage boy, is a compelling & frighteningly charismatic speaker. We also see intimate moments with Mr. Winfield's distraught parents, especially his father, who continually questions what more he could have done to help his son. The film's mood is severe, & the festival audience gave it close attention & sat silently through the closing credits.
Director Dan Krauss was in attendance for a Q&A. He got access to interview the soldiers by embedding with Adam Winfield's defense team & having his film used as defense evidence. He compared Mr. Westfield to Hamlet & suggested that Mr. Westfield could have done more, though he acknowledged that it is hard to be a whistleblower in the military. Mr. Krauss considers this a story of failure of the military command structure, & his dream would be for the military to embrace the film & make it required viewing for officer training. We learned that even though Mr. Morlock is in prison, he somehow managed to wear army dress blue for his filmed interview.
The screening was introduced by Director of Programming Rachel Rosen & began with a montage of handsome photos in remembrance of George Gund III, the festival's Chairman of the Board who passed away earlier this year.
§ The Kill Team
dir: Dan Krauss
USA, 2013, 79 mins.
The 56th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival
Pacific Film Archive, Fri, 4/26 9:00 PM
Kabuki Sundance, Mon, 5/6, 3:15 PM
Kabuki Sundance, Tue, 5/7, 6:00 PM
New People Cinema, Thu, 5/9 6:00 PM