TATTOOED UNDER FIRE is a unique, intimate, character-driven portrait of Iraq-bound and returning US soldiers as they go under the tattoo needle: openly professing their pride, sharing their secrets and confessing their fears. The tattoos cross lines of gender, class, and political affinity revealing the inner lives of young men and women as they live through the horrors of the Iraq war.
The film’s narrative moves from the early expectations and excitement of 18 and 20 year-olds through cynicism and anger to a sense of a psychological aftermath that will never be erased. Each soldier’s story is an evocative, poignant, and highly personal look at the human and cultural cost of war.
About the filmmakers
Nancy Schiesari has directed, produced and been a cinematographer on both broadcast documentaries and narrative features for over twenty years. She produced and directed Hansel Mieth: Vagabond Photographer, a full-length documentary that premiered on PBS Independent Lens. Her other works as director include History Man, a Portrait of Martin Scorsese, for the BBC, and Green Flutes, a feature documentary for England’s Channel 4. Nancy has experience as a Director of Photography on over 30 documentaries and feature films broadcast for England’s Channel 4, BBC, ABC, National Geographic, and PBS. She was nominated for a 2002 Television Emmy for outstanding cinematography on The Human Face (producer John Cleese). Among her work as cinematographer is Ken Mc Mullen’s 35mm Channel 4 feature film, Partition, Bennie Klain’s PBS documentary, Weaving Worlds- How the West was Spun, and Pratibha Parmar’s and Alice Walker’s, Warrior Marks, Channel 4. She has an MFA from the Royal College of Art in London and is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin where she teaches Filmmaking and Cinematography.
Tattooed Under Fire is the editor Christina Kim’s first feature documentary. She spent two years on the project, collaborating with Nancy through many stages of production. Christina is an Austin-based filmmaker who graduated with a B.S. in Radio-Television-Film from The University of Texas in 2006, and she also worked on independent documentaries, Snakebit and Location Location, as an assistant editor. Christina’s own film, Dreams in All Sizes, screened at Austin Asian Film Festival and is scheduled to air on the Documentary Channel in 2009. Her previous short, For Me and Him, screened at the Dallas Video Festival and aired on SXSW Presents on Austin’s PBS station, KLRU in 2005. Christina is currently pursuing an MFA in film at UCLA.
Executive producer Alison Rooper of In Focus Productions cut her teeth at Granada TV on history and documentary series before joining the BBC where she series produced and series edited a number of flagship shows in current affairs, science and documentaries. Amongst recent documentaries she has executive produced are the award winning War Feels Like War (special mention at Hotdocs 2004) and The Headmaster and the Headscarves. Rooper’s recently directed Doping for Gold for the BBC, aired on PBS Secrets of the Dead in may 2008.
Laura has produced and written for PBS, A&E, Biography, and VH1/MTV Networks. She produced, directed, and wrote Cereal: History in a Bowl, a pop culture pilot for The History Channel that was subsequently extended to a 13-part series. As a development writer, her credits include film treatments and series proposals for PBS, HBO, National Geographic, Bravo, Discovery-Times Television, HGTV, Outdoor Life Network and the Weather Channel. She has also taught documentary filmmaking workshops at DCTV in New York and at The Mobile Film School in Austin.
Carol Geiger has been involved with the non-profit sector since the 1970s in various capacities. While her educational background was in molecular biology, her desire to work for the greater good has directed her career path. She has been involved with organizations that provide health care services for the uninsured, legal services for victims of domestic violence, and advocate for health and human services issues as well as clean air in Texas . In her spare time, she has raised a son; involves herself in the arts (taking classes and workshops in metal sculpture, life drawing, and clay); and is an associate producer on a documentary for ITVS due to be released in the fall of 2008.
Associate Producer / Camera
Librado Lozano possesses 16 years of professional experience working as a producer, writer, photojournalist and video editor. He started his career working at a studio that served hi-profile advertising agencies, but has since worked on a broad range of productions. He has created behind the scenes trailers for several feature-films starring David Carradine, Elisha Cuthbert and Camella Bell. Currently, Lozano specializes in documentaries and has worked with Nancy Schiesari before on her film Hansel Mieth: Vagabond Photographer. He holds a bachelor degree in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin and is currently a producer for PBS-Dallas (KERA-13).
A native of Bulgaria, Iskra Valtcheva is an independent cinematographer who has worked on more than forty shorts and tenfeature films in TX, WA, NY, and NM in roles ranging from D.P. to setlighting technician. Her cinematography credits include a 2008 StudentAcademy Award nomination (Red Wednesday, dir. Nazanin Shirazi), and asemi-finalist (Love, Sadie, dir. Naiti Gámez). Iskra holds a B.A. inArt from Williams College, MA, and an M.F.A. in Film Production fromthe University of Texas at Austin. She was nominated for the 2007 JohnAlonzo, and the 2009 Bud Stone ASC Student Heritage Awards in Cinematography.
Naiti Gámez is a Cuban-born, Miami-raised, filmmaker willing to call anywhere “with a flexible approach to language” home. She has worked as a cinematographer, director and editor on award-winning films and television series. Her latest film, Love, Sadie, was awarded a Texas Filmmakers’ Production Fund Grant (Austin Film Society), and was a Student Academy Awards semi-finalist. As a cinematographer, her film credits have screened at dozens of festivals worldwide, including Clermont-Ferrand, Tribeca, SXSW, Festival du Cinema de Paris, Woodstock Film Festival, Hampton’s International Film Festival, Festival de Cine Internacional de Barcelona and Taos Talking Pictures. Her film and TV credits have aired on television networks such as Showtime, MTV/MTV2, & tuTV. Naiti has also worked at non-profit organizations in the U.S. and abroad. As a youth-media educator, she’s collaborated with young people to produce videos about social issues that affect them. She holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Smith College, and an M.F.A. in Film Production (Cinematography concentration) from the University of Texas at Austin.
Marko Slavnic’s background is mainly in documentary work. He has edited and shot several feature length and short documentaries. Within the past year, he co-founded Imprint HD, a national production house specializing in corporate and commercial media. He currently serves as one of the company’s executive producers.
Tattooed Under Fire was Martin’s first documentary project. He graduated from the University of Texas’ RTF program in ’06. Since then, he’s done a variety of location recording ranging from documentary to narrative and television, including production mixing for St. Nick and Artois the Goat, both premiering at SXSW in 2009. Martin is based out of Austin, TX.
Cecy Correa got involved in this project as a Senior Radio-TV-Film student at the University of Texas. Now graduated, she currently works at a video game company by day, while helping out with website needs for the film after hours. You can contact her via Twitter at anytime for suggestions, questions, feedback, or just to chat.