Thursday, September 28, 2006
“My Child: Mothers of War” is a documentary that focuses on the mothers of our American soldiers serving in Iraq. Reporter Heather Hill talks with the director and one of the featured mothers about the film's message and its tie to San Diego.
It's a story of love and loss, joy and fear, pride and powerlessness. Nearly 300,000 mothers have watched their sons and daughters go off to Iraq since the U.S. launched the war in 2003. Now, one filmmaker has decided to tell their stories of sacrifice.
Director Angeliki Giannakopoulos says her documentary wasn't about showcasing a political view on the war or taking sides. Instead, she wanted to share with the audience the raw emotion of sending a loved one to battle. And for this, she turned to the mothers, documenting the tearful goodbyes, happy homecomings and devastating losses. For Giannakopoulos, the message is bigger than individual voices. She says the film represents a universal experience that transcends borders and brings women together.
Angeliki Giannakopoulos: So whatever these mothers have gone through right now, in America, in Iraq, other mothers across the globe have been doing it for many, many years. So these women are very representative and I think any woman, no matter whether they're military or not, very much connects with their heart because they’re talking on the motherhood level. They're not talking politics, or soldiers, or guns or anything like that. They're talking heart to heart.
Darlene Guerin is a San Diego mom featured in the film. Her son Cory died in Iraq a year to the day after he left home for boot camp. Cory graduated from West Hills High School in 2002 and began training with the marines in July of that year. Guerin says the film gave her a chance to tell her story and pay tribute to the memory of her son.
Darlene Guerin: And I remember thinking to myself, ‘I wish I was a country western singer, so I could put into words what it feels like to kiss your child's headstone instead of kissing your child’, but I’m not a country music writer. So when Angeliki called me, I realized this was a way for me to write my story. It scared me; I was really frightened because I hadn't talked about it. So it was very, very frightening for me. But that was the way I was going to tell people what it felt like to do that.
Giannakopoulos interviewed more than 60 military mothers across the country including several from the San Diego area and worked closely with Camp Pendleton during the making of the documentary. “My Child: Mothers of War” will be featured at the San Diego Film Festival this Saturday.