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The Kill Team

Soldier Adam Winfield attempted to thwart atrocities being committed by his platoon in Afghanistan but was then himself charged in one of the largest war crimes investigations in US history.

A printer-friendly version of this page 79 minutes
SDH Captioned>>

Directed by Dan Krauss
Produced by Dan Krauss and Linda Davis
Executive Producer & Creative Advisor: Deborah Hoffmann
Executive Producer: Julie Goldman
Editor: Lawrence Lerew
Composer: Justin Melland
Cinematographer: Dan Krauss
Executive Producer for ITVS: Sally Jo Fifer
A co-production of f/8 Filmworks, Ltd. and Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)

"Brutally honest...It would be unbelievable - if it weren't true." John D. Hutson, Dean Emeritus, University of New Hampshire School of Law
THE KILL TEAM goes behind closed doors to tell the riveting story of Specialist Adam Winfield, a 21-year-old infantryman in Afghanistan who attempted with the help of his father to alert the military to heinous war crimes his platoon was committing. Tragically, his father's pleas for help went unheeded. Once Adam's fellow soldiers got wind of what he'd done, they threatened to silence him -- permanently. Forced to choose between his conscience and his own survival, Adam found himself drawn into a moral abyss, faced with a split-second decision that would change his life forever.

With extraordinary access to the key individuals involved in the case -- including Adam, his passionately supportive parents, and his startlingly candid compatriots -- THE KILL TEAM is an intimate look at the personal stories so often lost inside the larger coverage of the longest war in US history.

Grade Level: 10 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2015     Copyright Date: 2013
DVD ISBN: 1-94154-529-7

"This is a remarkable documentary. It reveals the members of the Kill Team as sympathetic characters even as the horror and immorality of their actions are on display. The movie also demonstrates the anguish of whistle-blowers and their families embedded in a military culture that circles the wagons to defend even the most egregious acts. Finally, it adds depth and nuance to our understanding of the political theater of that war."
Dr. Charles Anthony Smith, Associate Professor, Political Science, University of California - Irvine, Author, The Rise and Fall of War Crimes Trials, From Charles I to Bush II

"Soberly executed and highly principled documentary filmmaking."
Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

"Brutally honest, this is the true story of how soldiers in the most lethal army known to humankind can wantonly kill when leadership fails. It is a story that must be told, and will leave you staring thunderstruck at the screen as you sit speechless, watching the credits roll by. It would be unbelievable - if it weren't true."
John D. Hutson, retired United States Navy rear admiral, Dean Emeritus, University of New Hampshire School of Law

"Highly Recommended...chilling...An essential selection for public and academic libraries that collect documentaries on current events and the U.S. War effort. A discussion generator in classes related to psychology, sociology, history, ethics, and war."
Jeffrey Pearson, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Educational Media Reviews Online

"An essential film no matter what your political convictions."
David Edelstein, New York Magazine

"Kill Team is an unusual and startling documentary, with far fewer stereotypes and more disturbing truths about infantry soldiers at war than the 10,000 TV news chats, movies and recruiting advertisements you've seen during the past decade. The Kill Team does not exploit gore. It instead relies on first person interviews, 21st Century pervasive media, and US Army prosecution evidence to explore genuinely complex questions about fear, combat teams, and war crimes in ways I've not seen on film before. ROTC and military audiences should make a point of seeing and discussing The Kill Team."
Christopher Simpson, Professor of Journalism, American University, Author, Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare

"A deeply disturbing film, this is highly recommended."
C. Cassady, Video Librarian

"Chilling, concise, and clear-eyed."
Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

"A highly dramatic and necessary documentary. It will make you both sad and angry, just the way that the long, long war in Afghanistan does. Highly recommended."
Louis Proyect, The Unrepentant Marxist

"The Kill Team is a very powerful study of the power of one leader and of unit culture in shaping ethical conduct on the battlefield, and the difficulty of exercising moral courage amidst that pressure."
Dr. Martin Cook, Professor of Professional Military Ethics, US Naval War College, Author, The Moral Warrior: Ethics and Service in the US Military and Issues in Military Ethics

"Devastating...A formidable contender."
Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"This powerful film traces the moral dilemma of a 21-year-old U.S. Army private forced to choose between blowing the whistle on war crimes being committed by fellow soldiers and facing their deadly wrath, or becoming a participant in the illegal killing of unarmed civilians. It highlights the dehumanization of Afghan people by some members of the military, which enables them to become killing machines. The Kill Team serves as poignant evidence that the U.S. military does not belong in other countries, killing their people and damaging our own soldiers who remain haunted by what they did."
Marjorie Cohn, Professor, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Co-author, Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent

"Has the kind of urgent intimacy that characterizes the best such non-fiction films...Astonishing."
Ian Bailey, The Globe and Mail

"The Kill Team tells the stories of young, immature soldiers who find that some of their enemies are 'within.' How, they ask, are they supposed to react when their team is led by those who are willing to murder innocent Afghans? How, they also ask, should they be treated by the military establishment once it discovers what is going on? These stories exhibit the struggles of these soldiers and their families, as the soldiers face imprisonment for what has happened."
Nicholas Fotion, Professor of Philosophy, Emory University, Author, War and Ethics: A New Just War Theory

"An intimate look into a military culture that allowed bored young soldiers to commit murder...Very highly recommended for adult video collections."
Cliff Glaviano, Library Journal

"The most daring documentary of the year so far...A stunning, powerful film that boldly complicates the conversation around America's wars."
Daniel Walber, Film School Rejects

"Among the most vital documents of the war in Afghanistan."
David Ehrlich,

"Hits all the right buttons: political injustice, moral outrage, and emotional catharsis."
Anthony Kaufman, Indiewire

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DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
SDH captions for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and scene selections.
Also 3 extras:
On Making the Kill Team Interview with Dan Krauss [12:18]
In Conversation: Dan Krauss and Mark Boal [21:23]
Theatrical Trailer [2:12]

The film's website

Awards and Festivals
Shortlist for Best Documentary, Academy Awards®
Nominee, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary, DGA Awards
Best Documentary Feature, Tribeca Film Festival
Golden Gate Award, San Francisco International Film Festival
Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival
Human Rights Watch Film Festival
DOK Leipzig Film Festival
Vancouver International Film Festival
Denver Starz Film Festival
St. Louis International Film Festival
Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Philadelphia Film Festival
Zagreb Film Festival
BFI London Film Festival
Melbourne International Film Festival
Warsaw Film Festival
Durban International Film Festival
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Sedona International Film Festival
Cucalorus Film Festival
Florida Film Festival
Luxembourg Film Festival
Abu Dhabi Film Festival
Maine International Film Festival
ArcLight Documentary Film Festival
Camden Film Festival
River Run International Film Festival
Little Rock Film Festival
New Hampshire Film Festival
Salt Spring Film Festival
Tallgrass Film Festival
Louisiana International Film Festival
Calgary Underground Film Festival
American Library Association's 2016 VRT list of Notable Videos for Adults

American Studies
Human Rights
National Security
Political Science
War Crimes
War and Peace

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The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It
The story of conscientious objectors in World War II.

The Quiet Mutiny
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The War You Don't See
John Pilger's powerful and timely investigation into the media's role in war.

Independent Intervention
Focuses on the human cost of the Iraq War to contrast corporate-controlled media coverage with independent media.

Human Terrain
Examines and questions the US military's new counterinsurgency initiative, 'Human Terrain Systems', under which social scientists are embedded with combat troops.

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