Documentary 'Citizen Soldier': 'Closest experience to being at war without actually being at war'

- "War is boring… until it’s punctured by these moments of heart-stopping terror," according to the trailer for Citizen Soldier, a documentary told from the point of view of soldiers.

David Salzberg and Christian Tureaud produced and directed the film, which tells the true story of a group of soldiers in the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, known as the Thunderbird. Over the course of their history the Thunderbirds received nine Medals of Honor.

Citizen Soldier was made using real footage shot by the soldiers of this unit themselves.

"When we initially met Sgt. Eran Harrill, the kid that originally brought us the footage, he want to honor two people," Salzberg said. "If you look at what the film turned into by them all engaging, there’s an angel scroll at the end of the film with 803 from every state."

Salzberg and Turead made the choice to remain apolitical, without taking any positive or negative stances on war. They said they wanted people to create their own opinions based on the soldiers’ experiences.

"There are folks that have lost their lives, families that have seen their husband or son’s death," Salzberg said. "We treat it where if their children see this down the road they’re not going to say ‘why’d you guys do this?’ they’re going to say ‘thank you for showing what happened.’"

Tureaud said some generals have told them the movie is the closest experience to being at war without actually being at war.

"What’s really been interesting for us as filmmakers is that we try to create a style that didn’t exist before. It’s a first person immersive experience," he said.

Salzberg and Tureaud own a company, Strong Eagle Media, with the commitment to tell stories similar to Citizen Soldier and to document this time in history on the post-9/11 wars through unique perspectives.

"The first movie, The Hornet’s Nest, which was told through a father and son journalist story, now it’s the National Guard, we have a third one called Danger Close, which is the Special Ops community and the only journalist to ever embed," Tureaud said. "We’re about to start our fourth movie as well."

Citizen Soldier is out in theaters Aug. 5.

"Whether you’re showing it to the families or you’re showing it to a group of generals, they say it’s the greatest love story ever told because of how we did it," Salzberg said.

Watch the full interview above.

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