Not a War Story: Veterans Take Ownership in the Film Industry

first published on July 3, 2017 by

The cast and crew of “Range 15” hits Beverly Hills for the premiere of “Not a War Story”. A documentary detailing the challenges and successes of making the first ever full production film for veterans, by veterans.

“Not a War Story” tells the mostly hilarious, yet perpetually exhausting process of developing and producing a full-length feature film without any Hollywood assistance. From its initial conception as a slap-stick zombie movie, to raising more than a million dollars in independently crowd sourced funds; to assembling the most highly decorated cast of all time. The film “Range 15” has certainly left its impact on the military and veteran community and earned its place as a cult classic. This past Friday’s documentary release at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Academy of Motion Picture Arts (yep, where they have the Oscar’s) brings the enormous challenges surmounted by an unlikely collaboration between two rival veteran-owned and operated apparel companies, into a comical, communal, and empowered narrative.

Not a War Story

The film, which opens with a laughable scene focused on a prosthetic penis, is an excellent snapshot of the behind the scenes challenges faced by the inexperienced but determined crew. A total lack of interest by the Hollywood mainstream, the sudden burdens of a highly complicated production, and an unforgivingly short time-table forcing the movie to be shot in just 13 grueling days. Through teamwork and an absolute devotion to a veteran’s dark sense of humor, “Not a War Story” fly’s directly in the face of the typical Hollywood veteran stereotype. Far from a collection of broken individuals, the nearly all veteran cast and crew not only persevere through the relentless and uphill battle of production, but eventually succeed with Range 15 hitting the top of both Amazon Prime and iTunes when first released.

Given Hollywood’s consistently negative portrayals of the military and veterans, “Not a War Story” and “Range 15” are an inspirational burst of energy in the military and veteran community. If Hollywood won’t make accurate stories about us, or for us, then we must do it ourselves. This is a shining example of a community taking ownership and doing exactly that. They capture the humor and the camaraderie, while highlighting the never-quit, can-do mentality that is so central to the veterans community. Far from damaged and pitiful burdens, yet again veterans prove their ability to overcome any obstacle, in any industry. The fact that you’ll piss yourself laughing, is just an added bonus.