Film Opening at Newseum

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The independent documentary film “Chaplains Under Fire” will have its Washington, D.C., premiere, tonite, Friday April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Newseum’s Theater.

The premier event will include a discussion with filmmakers Lee Lawrence and Terry Nickelson, editor Andrea Hull, Navy Chaplain Ben Sandford, and religious-liberty scholar Charles C. Haynes after the screening.

“The role that chaplains play in the military — and the church-state tensions they face — is not well understood,” Haynes said. “‘Chaplains Under Fire’ is a compelling look at chaplains in action — and a provocative examination of the First Amendment debate surrounding their work.”

Filmmakers Lawrence and Nickelson spent three months in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2007 examining the world of military chaplains through the eyes of the troops they serve in combat and the controversies they trigger at home and on the battlefield.

Chaplains of different faiths help soldiers cope with the daily grind of deployment, the rush of risky missions, the pain of losing comrades, the confusion of being medevacked after life-changing wounds. To many, the very presence of chaplains in war spells comfort — to others, it raises questions.

“Are they trying to convert the troops they serve? Is the government muzzling Christian evangelical chaplains? These are the contradictory reports we read in the papers,” Lee Lawrence said. “We wanted to get behind the headlines.”

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited, so secure a seat by contacting Ashlie Hampton at 202/292-6288 or ahampton@freedomforum.org. Enter the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum from Sixth Street, just north of Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. The running time of the film is 94 minutes.

Lee Lawrence is a journalist who has worked in Belgium, the former Yugoslavia and India. Lee has taught seminars on “writing for artists” at the Washington Glass School and she continues to write features for the Christian Science Monitor, American Style magazine, the Wall Street Journal and other publications. Terry Nickelson is a filmmaker who has lived in five sub-Saharan countries, South Asia and North Africa. His work includes producing a documentary on the Rwanda genocide for UNHCR, contributing to a PBS series on preventive diplomacy and contributing to a Court TV series on war-crimes tribunals. He is now part of an effort to stop the genocide in Darfur.

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