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How to Fold a Flag


HOW TO FOLD A FLAG is a film about a cage fighter in Texas, a congressional candidate in Buffalo, a heavy-metal rocker in Colorado, and a hog butcher in North Carolina. Their common thread is that they went through combat together in Iraq in the U.S. Army's 2/3 Field Artillery unit, known as the Gunners. Now they're dispersed back to their hometowns, trying to resume normal lives. In this extraordinary documentary, filmmakers Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein reveal the poignant and poetic tapestry of America's neglected corners. Tucker and Epperlein are uniquely qualified for this journey. Their debut feature film, GUNNER PALACE was the first theatrical work to follow American soldiers in Iraq. HOW TO FOLD A FLAG begins with a 1920 epigraph from the German author Ernst Jünger: “We were asked to believe that the war was over. We laughed – for we were the war.” That sentiment embodies these characters. In Texas, Michael Goss, haunted by the deaths he witnessed, says, “I need to continue fighting something.” In Buffalo, Jon Powers’s campaigns on his war record for the U.S. Congress, which doesn't stop his opponents from “Swift Boating” him with smear tactics. In suburban Colorado, Wilf Stuart tries to uphold his mother Becky's spirits as his brother prepares to deploy for combat. In Fayetteville, North Carolina, Javorn Drummond cracks jokes about his ramshackle home. Describing his sense of dislocation, he says, “We went to war as a unit and came home alone.” HOW TO FOLD A FLAG had its world premiere at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.


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The Filmmakers

Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker Co-Directors/Co-Producers

Co-director and co-producer Petra Epperlein was born in Karl Marx Stadt, GDR in 1966. After two years of work as a bricklayer, Epperlein studied architecture in Dresden where after receiving her diploma in 1991, she headed west to America. Co-director and co-producer Michael Tucker was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1966 and worked for two years as a commercial fisherman in Alaska until an accident on a factory trawler led him to pick up his first camera.

 In 2003, the outbreak of the war in Iraq pulled Tucker to Baghdad, where he followed an armored car salesman making sales calls for BULLETPROOF SALESMAN. While filming BULLETPROOF SALESMAN, Tucker took interest in the story of US soldiers deployed in Baghdad and began to work on GUNNER PALACE in August 2003. After the critically acclaimed release of GUNNER PALACE in the Spring of 2005, Tucker and Epperlein began work on THE PRISONER: OR HOW I PLANNED TO KILL TONY BLAIR, recently nominated for Independent Spirit and Cinema Eye Awards. HOW TO FOLD A FLAG is the fourth and final chapter of a quartet of films that spans six years of war.

In the field, Epperlein does sound; Tucker does camera. In the studio, they share editing tasks. They live and work between Berlin and New York, where Epperlein is currently working on a graphic novel about her childhood in Karl Marx City and Tucker is working on his first narrative screenplay.

Festivals & Awards

Toronto International Film Festival 2009

Official Selection

Stranger than Fiction at IFC 2009

Official Selection

True/False Film Festival 2010

Official Selection

SXSW Film Festival 2010

Official Selection


The country has moved on, but Tucker and Epperlein thankfully have not.”

-Time Out Chicago

As How to Fold a Flag powerfully shows, the costs of war do not only come overseas and do not end when the soldiers come home.”

-The Huffington Post

… what starts off seeming like a traditional “vets returning home” documentary subtly morphs into a nuanced portrait of a country trying its best to emotionally distance itself from the reality of its foreign policy.”

-Filmmaker Magazine