Students at the country’s oldest private military college have won a prestigious national prize for their documentary exploring issues veterans back from Iraq and Afghanistan face upon returning home.
The 2010 documentary “The War At Home,” which primarily features interviews with Norwich University student veterans, has taken first place in the Society of Professional Journalists’ “Mark of Excellence Awards" in the category of Television In-Depth Reporting.
In "War," veterans describe how difficult it is to readjust after the experiences of a war. Chris Evans is a veteran and a former Norwich student who was interviewed for the film.
"All of a sudden it could be a smell, it could be a sound, it could be a sight, it could be a memory, a voice, you know, something that could put me in a different world," Evans says in one of the many earnest interviews featured in the film.
Students who produced the film say it’s this inside look at the military that makes the film compelling to the audience. They say the goal of the film was to help those who are deploying as well as their families and the public to understand the impact of war.
“Family members, students and classmates say it is such a powerful video because getting exposed to these stories gives viewers a view of the military you don’t usually see,” said Brittney Schlauch, a senior producer. One of the other senior producers, Amanda Plachek, is currently serving in Afghanistan.
Norwich communications professor William Estill says the project served as a valuable experience for those on both sides of the camera. “The national award comes at a time when the war on terror reaches a milestone with the death of [Osama] bin Laden, and the student veterans and producers are graduating and commissioning,” Estill said in a statement.
After winning in regional competition for in-depth television reporting, the Norwich students went on to win the first place national award. They will receive it in September at a national convention in New Orleans.