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The Recruiter

Synopsis

THE RECRUITER is a feature-length documentary that travels to the Louisiana coast to capture a phenomenon now occurring throughout the United States - the intense push to recruit new soldiers into the U.S. Army. What distinguishes this story is its remarkable central character, Louisiana's Sergeant First Class Clay Usie, one of the most successful Army recruiters working in America. Shot in verite style, THE RECRUITER captures Sgt. Usie's day-to-day life - almost entirely dedicated to his mission of finding new soldiers - over a nine-month period in his hometown of Houma, Louisiana. At the same time, the film follows the stories of Lauren, Matt, and Bobby, three teenagers recently recruited into the Army by Sgt. Usie. The new recruits spend their last semesters of high school finishing up their studies and preparing for boot camp. After their graduation, the film travels with them to basic training, where they transition from students to soldiers.

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The Filmmakers

Edet Belzberg Director

Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Edet Belzberg's films are distinguished by her choice of subject, in-depth treatment of place, and elegant storytelling. The MacArthur Foundation, in selecting Belzberg as a MacArthur Fellow and recipient of its "Genius Grant," praised her for her "raw, graceful, and insightful" films. Born in Los Angeles, Belzberg received a B.A. (1991) from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and an M.A. (1997) from Columbia University's prestigious School of International and Public Affairs. She has been a frequent lecturer at Columbia's School of Journalism and has taught at New York University's famous Tisch School of the Arts (2001). The creative force behind New York production company Propeller Films, she continues to take on a wide range of subjects and make award-winning documentaries.

Alan Oxman Producer

Alan Oxman's editing credits include WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE (Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival), HAPPINESS (International Critic's Award, Cannes Film Festival) and STORYTELLING (Cannes Film Festival). He co-edited UNZIPPED (Audience Award, Sundance Film Festival) which won the A.C.E. Award for Best Documentary Editing. He won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Documentary Editing on the PBS series CITY LIFE. He co-produced the documentary film CHILDREN UNDERGROUND (Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival & Best Documentary at the IFP Gotham Awards) and was the co-producer and supervising editor of CONTROL ROOM (Grand Jury Prize, Full Frame Film Festival). He was recently the consulting editor and post-production supervisor of NO END IN SIGHT (Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival). Alan teaches film editing at The Edit Center in NYC and is an adjunct professor in the graduate film department of Columbia University.

Festivals & Awards

Sundance Film Festival

2008

Reviews

Like documentary masters such as Frederick Wiseman, filmmaker Edet Belzberg pierces the armor of a powerful institution by smartly letting her camera capture what is going on. Devoid of any political slants, THE RECRUITER is an even-handed, complex portrait of, as Walter Cronkite might have said, the way it is.”

-The Hollywood Reporter

Kindness is not usually a quality associated with political documentaries, but it may be precisely what rescues Edet Belzberg's insightful, absorbing film about military recruitment from being shipped off to a desert of indifference. A portrait of a crack Army recruiter and several of the oh-so-young people he convinces to join the service, THE RECRUITER doesn't pander or judge, and as such will make itself palatable to a much wider audience than a war doc might otherwise. Theatrical prospects may be limited, but resonance should be far-reaching.”

-Variety

Outreach

THE RECRUITER has an extensive and ongoing outreach program aimed at high school students and young adults. Spearheaded by educational coordinator Sheila Sundar, and supported by The Fledgling Fund, the film is being shown in classrooms across the country along with its accompanying ancillary materials, which include a specially developed curriculum. Encouraging students to think critically about issues that affect them directly, The Recruiter is being brought to areas with some of the highest rates of military recruitment in America. The filmmakers are also partnering with veterans' organizations, working with church groups and PTAs.

For further information, or to get involved, please visit Propeller Films.

Outreach Resources

Propeller Films

Educational Resources

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HBO Curriculum & Teachers' Guide

What are some of the factors that influence the decision to enlist? The Recruiter Curriculum and Teacher's Guide offers resources and information for teachers and students seeking answers to these questions.

+ hbo.com

National Military Family Association

This nonprofit organization represents families of all ranks and services, prepares spouses, children, and parents to better deal with the unique challenges of military life. The Association protects benefits vital to all families, including those of the deployed, wounded, and fallen.

+ nmfa.org

Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a non-profit organization aimed at assisting those men and women of the United States armed forces who have been severely injured during the war on terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots around the world.

+ woundedwarriorproject.org

The Corporation for National and Community Service

The Corporation for National and Community Service seeks to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.

+ americorps.org