TONIGHT: Incredible Iraq Documentary 'Section 60'
From the folks over at HBO who brought us "Baghdad ER" and "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq" comes another incredible Iraq War related documentary: "Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery." The film, by Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill, is an unprecedented look at the ever-expanding section of Arlington Cemetery where soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are laid to rest.
The New York Times covered the documentary and how it came to be; it looks like this film (airing tonight on HBO at 9pm EST) is not one to be missed:
In tone, the film is light years away from the men's acclaimed "Baghdad ER," an often gruesome look at an Army Combat Support Hospital in Iraq, which won four Emmy Awards in 2006. Yet the two films have a direct connection: Lance Cpl. Robert T. Mininger, 21, who is seen dying of a shrapnel wound in the harrowing final moments of "Baghdad ER."
In completing that film, Mr. O'Neill and Mr. Alpert made contact with Lance Corporal Mininger's mother, Paula Zwillinger of Lagrangeville, N.Y., as did Sheila Nevins, HBO's president for documentary films. Friendships were forged, and Ms. Nevins took to calling Ms. Zwillinger every June 6, the anniversary of Lance Corporal Mininger's death in 2005. Last year that call proved revelatory for Ms. Nevins.
"I said, 'How are you doing, Paula?' and she said, 'I'm with Robert,' " Ms. Nevins recalled. "I said, 'Oh,' thinking she probably was in church. I said, 'Are you alone?' And she said no, so I thought she was with Larry, her husband. She said, 'No, I'm with other mothers and widows.' I thought it was a support group."
But Ms. Zwillinger was in Section 60, visiting her son's grave, and as she told Ms. Nevins of the cemetery and the extended family of survivors who can be found there any given day, Ms. Nevins knew there was a story that needed documenting.