||CAMP VICTORY, AFGHANISTAN (60' &
DIRECTED BY CAROL DYSINGER
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Camp Victory, Afghanistan is about the re-building of an
army. With 300 hours of tape shot over years, filmmaker
Carol Dysinger set out to tell this story from both an
Afghan and American perspective through the eyes of two
men. It is the first film to examine the training of the
new Afghan military. It is also a story about the depths
and limits of an unlikely friendship in war.
General Fazaludin Sayar, is a veteran who has been
fighting for Afghanistan since the age of 13?his face
shows thirty years of war fighting. Stronger than his
wariness of foreigners is his deep hunger for peace. He is
determined to build his army, with or in spite visiting
The first US contingent sent to train General Sayar?s army
is the Vermont National Guard. They arrive with good
intentions and a can-do attitude. But they witness
corruption and thievery, lose their beloved medic in a
battle where Afghans desert and betray them.
Then a new contingent follows lead by a American Col.
Shute, a lifelong Guardsmen with no combat experience. He
seems an unlikely mentor to General Sayar. But unlike so
many before him, Sayar sits and listens.
But slowly Sayar begins revealing the truth of his past,
which is intimately intertwined with the historical shifts
in his country over the past 30 years. As Shute?s
understanding deepens, they work to create an army from
untrained and largely illiterate enlistees. The situation
worsens around them, and authorities suddenly hand the job
of training over to the Italian Army. Sayar?s frustration
grows. Finally, with Shute?s backing, Sayar let?s the
Special Forces, Italians, and Americans have it in one big
meeting. It is a watershed moment. Shute must return home
but swears he will come back. Before he can, Sayar dies,
as men do in war. Shute remains to this day, deeply
conflicted about the mission, but not about the love he
has for his friend.
In Camp Victory, Afghanistan we witnesses the gap between
policy and reality in training the new Afghan National
Army. The film tells the story of a battle-tested Afghan
Brigadier General and the friendship he develops with an
American Colonel enlisted with helping him turn ragtag
groups of uncertain, impoverished men into a trained,
standing Afghan National Army. An unexpected camaraderie
is captured between them despite Sayar?s growing
exasperation with the US, and their growing friendship
reveal the human cost of an impossible policy.
The film is an intimate, realistic account of the constant
cultural and professional conflicts between the Afghans
and the visiting armies. While lack of trust runs strong,
stronger are the tight emotional bonds sometimes formed
between leaders in the rebuilding of a nation.
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