NEWS Combat film will confront viewers
A CONFRONTING war film with combat scenes from Australian operations in Afghanistan is “a story that has to be told”.
Australian War Memorial director Brendan Nelson remains unapologetic about a new film Afghanistan: the Australian Story, which takes viewers inside the Defence Forces’ battles with the Taliban.
The film will be released on Wednesday and includes interviews with veterans as they recount battles and reflect on their service.
“There is a lot of discussion about post-traumatic stress and a lot of Australians have no idea of what it was like,” Dr Nelson said.
“Australians need to see this and get a sense of the violence and physical and psychological trauma which has been experienced by these men and women.
The film coincides with the unveiling of a new $800,000 exhibition at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
The 150sq m display will cover Australia’s involvement in the Middle East, from the The First Gulf War in 1991 to UN Weapons Inspections through the 1990s, the Afghan war 2001-2014 and Iraq 2003-2009.
Dr Nelson said it was important to make history a living thing and to honour the 60,000 Defence Force personnel who have served overseas in the past 20 years.
“Australians need to see this and get a sense of the violence”
The idea for the new display came from a letter Dr Nelson received 18 months ago from an Afghanistan and Iraq army veteran.
“He wrote that he was really proud of what had been done with Afghanistan but really angry that there is virtually nothing there about Iraq,” Dr Nelson said.
“I wrote back and told him that I am embarrassed and angry and assured him that I was working on it.
“I’m convinced that the Australian War Memorial is a very important part of the therapeutic environment for veterans coming back to a country which has no idea what they are doing.
“It is about making sure their story is told, and told now, so that veterans and their families can have pride of their story being told and get a sense of the impact their service.”