Apr 7, 2010

Media Contact:
Ashlie Hampton
202/292-6288
ahampton@freedomforum.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. PREMIERE OF DOCUMENTARY FILM 'CHAPLAINS UNDER FIRE'

Friday, April 30, presented by the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum

WASHINGTON — The independent documentary film "Chaplains Under Fire" will have its Washington, D.C., premiere April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Newseum's Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater.

The premier event, presented by the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum, 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.

The Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum works to educate the public about the vital importance of religious freedom through events, educational initiatives and outreach.

Lee Lawrence is a journalist who has worked in Belgium, the former Yugoslavia and India. Her series on military chaplains in the Christian Science Monitor won awards from the American Academy of Religion and the Religion Newswriters Association. 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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