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Photos: Making 'The War Tapes'

Soldiers in Iraq, filmmaker in U.S. use inexpensive camcorders and constant stream of IMs and e-mail to create award-winning documentary.
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1 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Mike Moriarity

Now making its way into theaters across the country, "The War Tapes" is a documentary born of the Internet age. Director Deborah Scranton put inexpensive Sony camcorders in the hands of several soldiers (in this picture, Spc. Mike Moriarty) from a New Hampshire National Guard unit and kept in constant touch with them during their 2004 tour of duty via e-mail and instant messages. One notable result: The movie won top documentary honors at the Tribeca Film Festival in May.

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2 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

view of supply-route vehicles

This view of an M1 Abrams tank, Humvee and other vehicles was shot through binoculars on a supply route north of Taji, Iraq. A central piece of "The War Tapes" is house-to-house fighting in the battle for the city of Fallujah.

The film runs to just 97 minutes, but it is the product of 800 hours of footage from the soldiers in Iraq and an additional 200 hours gathered by Scranton and her U.S.-based crew. "The unseen collaborator on the film is the internet," the filmmakers say on their Web site. "This is a Web 2.0 outside the wire--the intimate power of the internet exploding on the movie screen."

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3 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Zach Bazzi

Five soldiers from the 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain) filmed the yearlong deployment. "The War Tapes" focuses on three of them, including Sgt. Zach Bazzi, seen here training an Iraqi policeman. "I took one of the cameras because it was like, wow, cool, free camera, a $1,500 piece of equipment," Bazzi told the Boston Globe.

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4 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

Steve Pink

The third of the three soldiers, Sgt. Steve Pink, films a roadside scene in front of a couple Humvees and one of the ubiquitous Toyota pickup trucks in the region. From the "War Tapes" Web site: "The unit was based at LSA Anaconda in the deadly Sunni Triangle, under constant threat of ambush and IED attacks. They traveled, as a unit, 1.4 million miles during their tour, and lived through over 1,200 combat operations and 250 direct enemy engagements."

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5 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

the 'War Tapes four

Left to right: Moriarty, Scranton, Bazzi and Pink, out of harm's way.

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6 of 6 Andy Smith/ZDNet

'War Tapes' poster

The poster for "The War Tapes." A trailer for the film can be seen here.

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