Hell and Back Again (2011)

  • Director: Danfung Dennis
  • Community Engagement Coordinator: Andy Myers
Film Length:
88 minutes
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What does it mean to lead troops in war? What does it mean to come home - injured physically and psychologically - and build a life anew? Hell and Back Again is a cinematically revolutionary film that asks and answers these questions with a power and intimacy no previous film about the conflict in Afghanistan has been able to achieve.

From his entrenchment with US Marines Echo Company in Afghanistan, photojournalist and filmmaker Danfung Dennis reveals the devastating impact a Taliban machine-gun bullet has on the life of 25-year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris. The film seamlessly transitions from stunning war reportage to an intimate, visceral portrait of one man's personal struggle at home in North Carolina, where Harris confronts the physical and emotional difficulties of re-adjusting to civilian life with the love and support of his wife, Ashley. Masterfully contrasting the intensity of the frontline with the unsettling normalcy of home, Hell and Back Again lays bare the true cost of war.

The Film Campaign

The campaign has partnered with nonprofit organizations and other experts to engage viewers and to address our seriously flawed national response to the needs of our returning veterans. After more than 10 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, our returning service members and their families need a wide range of support services, from counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse to higher education and jobs placement; from health and wellness services, to economic and workforce opportunities and support for continuing education.

Overwhelming numbers of veterans believe there are negative perceptions about their service and sacrifice and indifference from the general population to their challenges and struggles. The films engagement campaign will be a powerful tool to communicate that troops should be treated with dignity and respect and should be taken care of upon their return.

Issue: Health, Military & Veterans


  • 2012 Academy Award Nominee - Best Documentary Feature
  • Camden International Film Festival - Best Documentary
  • Moscow International Film Festival - Best Documentary
  • Sundance Film Festival - Grand Jury Prize
  • Sundance Film Festival - Cinematography Prize

Where to buy:
Hell and Back Again

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Bring Hell and Back Again to your community. Host a community screening or house party and together with other audience members, brainstorm actions that you might take as an individual and that people might do as a group. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Veterans who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan face many issues upon returning to civilian life. Find out about the issues and how you can support those returning troops by visiting the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America website at www.iava.org.

2. If there is a rehabilitation center for wounded veterans in your area, volunteer your services. Alternatively, explore volunteering
with the Wounded Warrior Project. Find information at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

3. Challenge veterans to rebuild a sense of purpose in their lives by serving in their communities, and serve alongside them to
show your support. Learn more at www.missioncontinues.org.

Event Name Date City State   Location Status
A Celebration of Service Jun 01, 2013 NYC NY United States DCTV Complete

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