Tell Me A Story Soldier . . . The Afghan Mission Film Festival

Links to Films:

The Veterans Documentary Series

Op Apollo 2001 to 2003 can be found at

Outside the Wire with Alison MacLean

Life and Death in Kandahar, a 2008 documentary done by CBCs Fifth Estate is also now available on You Tube

Op Athena can be found at…FLQoVhw1IF4PmNjdeGm-OH6g&index=3

Desert Lions

A short from We Will Remember Them

Afghanistan Outside the Wire by Esprit de Corp

For the NFB film The Van Doos in Afghanistan go to

Waging Peace – Canada in Afghanistan


Canadian Soldiers, Sailors, and Air Men and Women are ordinary people doing an extraordinary job for Canada. Trying to get them to tell their story, their boots on the ground experience from the conflict in Afghanistan, however, is difficult. Responses range from “I was just doing my job” to “I can’t talk about it”.

Canada and Canadians have a historical tendency to forget their military when the crisis is past. The military can take much of the blame for this. We are not very good at telling the Canadian Forces story. The legacy album “Afghanistan: A Soldier’s Story” wants to make sure the “official” record of the Afghan Conflict includes the unofficial human stories of the men and women who served. To that end a series of films have been gathered and will be heading to communities across Canada to remind Canadians, and those who served, that the human stories of this conflict, of any conflict, must be shared. They are vital to an accurate historical representation, as well as to the cultivation of a more robust Canadian identity and consistent government support necessary to sustain a credible, responsive, military.


The film tour is over, but with the links above you can still have the film festival, in part or in full, and at no cost to you, come to your organization, whether you are a CF Base, a Reserve Unit, A Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, a Canadian Military Museum, a Canadian school, or a local community or business organization prepared to help tell the story of the Canadian Military in Afghanistan, you can help to tell the Canadian story.

Afghanistan A Soldiers Story Films Presentation.2013

Film Graphics

Desert Lions Image Homefront Graphic Life and Death in Kandahar_title Op ApolloThe Van Doos in Afghanistan 2011



Waging Peace Graphic cropped  We-Will-RememberThem








Outside the Wire


We are always on the lookout for You Tube selections appropriate to telling the stories of those who served. So far 46 have been added to the list of favourites but suggestions (and links) for new You Tube content are welcome.

For now our film line up includes:

Afghanistan: A Soldier’s Story – Summer Film Festival Line-up

1.         Desert Lions: Canadian Forces Mentors in Kandahar

(permissions acquired)

One Hour, English – Filmed in the heart of Taliban country by army reservist and former CBC reporter Mike Vernon, Desert Lions is an on-the-ground look at Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. Stationed in Nakhonay, one of the deadliest regions in Kandahar Province, Vernon documents the daily lives of the Operational Mentor and liaison team (OMLT), which provides training and support to the afghan national army (ANA).

OMLT is more than just a team of mentors. Living in a converted school in the centre of the city, the team shares jobs, meals and even living quarters with its’ ANA counterparts. That camaraderie isn’t always easy, and Vernon captures the tension that comes from culture clashes, 40-degree heat and the constant threat of attack.

An honest, unvarnished view of military life, Desert Lions is as close as most of us will come to understanding the efforts of our dedicated soldiers abroad.

2.         The Van Doos in Afghanistan

(permissions acquired)

French and English, 2011, 44 Minutes

Producer Anne-Marie Rocher, Director Claude Guilaim

The Van Doos in Afghanistan is a feature-length documentary that propels you directly into the heart of the action among the soldiers serving with the Royal 22e Régiment. In this clip, we meet Corporal Maxime Émond-Pépin, who suffered a serious leg injury and lost an eye on his first mission in 2009. Despite his injuries, he rejoined his battalion in Afghanistan. He talks about how important it was for him to get back to the infantry.

3.         The Veterans:

(permissions acquired)

52 Episodes 40 minutes each, English  – The documentary series, The Veterans, illustrates the impact of Canada’s participation in foreign conflicts and crises on Canada, Canadians and the military and covers the period from the First World War up to and including Afghanistan. The Veterans consists of 52 episodes each of 40 minutes in length. The project was three years in the making, was a volunteer, not-for-profit undertaking and contains interviews with and location filming of veterans, serving men and women of the Canadian Forces (CF) in Canada and around the world, the Canadian defence and security industry, DFAIT, CIDA, CSC, RCMP, CWM, police forces, NGOs, the military colleges, military historians and a host of other Canadians.

The documentary is a gift to the Canadian people and is of particular relevance to young Canadians, tomorrow’s leaders, as it emphasizes civics, citizenship, nation building and leadership. This is a unique, historical account of Canada’s military and the impact and contributions made by our gallant veterans and military personnel. It is a tribute to them and the manifold sacrifices for which they are remembered and commemorated. Select episodes of documentary can be viewed at by clicking on the logo The Veterans. The entire documentary including the original footage will be available in the CWM’s archives and military history research department.

The production team consists of Daniel R. Rodrique (producer and director), Colonel (Ret’d) Andrew Nellestyn OStJ HCE PhD (Co-producer) and Don MacKinnon (President Power Workers Union of Ontario and principal sponsor).

4.         Homefront

(permissions acquired)

One hour, English – Home front is a  one-hour TV Documentary,  produced by Reel Girls Media Inc. 2007, in association with Global Television, about the heroes behind the heroes. Homefront records the experience of the spouses, children, parents, and families of Canadian soldiers steadfastly waiting at home as our military engages in its most dangerous mission since the Korean War – stabilizing Afghanistan. By viewing the story of our international reconstruction effort in Afghanistan through the eyes of those Canadians who shoulder and understand the sacrifice most acutely, the documentary prompts enlightened answers to the dramatic question: why do we do this?

5.         We Will Remember Them

(permissions acquired)

Two Hours, English – A CBC documentary produced by 90th Parallel Productions in 2010 goes beyond the static photographs and news headlines and gets to know the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The film introduces a new generation of Canadian heroes. The film allows viewers to meet their spouses, siblings, children, and parents, reminisce with their old friends at home and re-live life in Afghanistan with their comrades in arms. The film also bears witness and explores the true human cost of war. Personal stories from friends and loved ones are enriched by comments and stories from people everywhere. This film honours the impressions our soldiers’ lives have made and explores the enduring connections and communities that surrounded them. We Will Remember Them is a tribute to the fallen – an honour roll to help make sure that the lives of these soldiers will not be forgotten.

6.         Life and Death in Kandahar – Fifth Estate 2008

(permissions received)

44 Minutes, English – Life and Death in Kandahar begins with an urgent alert.  Incoming wounded are on their way.  Now, the questions begin: How many are there? What are the injuries? How soon will they arrive? As the medical staff gathers critical information, trauma bays are prepped and ambulances head out to meet the medevac helicopters.

In the winter of 2008, the fifth estate cameras were granted four weeks of unprecedented and exclusive access to the NATO trauma hospital at the main military base in Kandahar Province. The ‘Role 3′ is one of the busiest trauma hospitals in Afghanistan and it has been under Canadian command for two years.

7.         OP APOLLO (Oct. 2001– Oct. 2003)

(permissions acquired)

25 Minutes, English and French – A video following a boarding of a suspect vessel by HMCS WINNIPEG during OP APOLLO. On September 12, 2001, one day after the terrorist attacks in the U.S., NATO invoked the principle of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that an attack against any of the NATO member countries is an attack against them all. After confirming that the terrorist acts had been conducted from abroad, the Article became fully operative on October 2, 2001, and Operation APOLLO had begun.

Operation APOLLO was Canada’s military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism from October 2001 to October 2003. This required a significant contribution of manpower that demonstrated our continuing, strong commitment to our allies, and to international security. At its peak in January 2002, the Canadian Naval Task Group included six warships and about 1,500 Navy personnel

Canada was among the first coalition nations to deploy a naval task group into the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, which stretches from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia. Between October 2001 and 2003, 18 of 20 ships deployed, including HMC Ships Toronto, Halifax, Charlottetown, Iroquois, Preserver, Vancouver, Ottawa, Algonquin, St. John’s, Protecteur, Montréal, Winnipeg, Regina, Fredericton and Calgary. While deployed, ships participated in force-protection operations, fleet-support operations, leadership interdiction operations, and maritime interdiction operations. Canadian Naval Boarding Part personnel hailed more than 10,000 ships and conducted more than 260 boardings – almost 60 percent of the entire coalition fleet’s boardings.


(permissions acquired)

53 Minutes, English – Follows Canadian Richard Fitoussi on a personal quest into the fiercest parts of Afghanistan’s war-torn southern frontier to learn why Canadian soldiers are dying in a mission that has sparked more controversy than any other military intervention in Canadian history.

Embedded with the Canadian military alongside established war correspondents. Fitoussi sees for himself what is at stake for the Afghan people and the Canadians who serve in our name.

As his journey unfolds, Fitoussi is faced with the realities of modern day peacekeeping, and tries to distinguish between the reality on the ground and the rhetoric of the U.S. led “war on terror”. In the end he witnesses the ultimate sacrifice of young Canadians in a journey that nearly costs him his life.

9.         Outside the Wire

(permissions acquired)

2010, English – Produced by Alison MacLean

Outside the Wire is a documentary which provides a current overview of Canada’s and the Coalition Forces’ work in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The changing face of war is represented, with a feature focus on women in combat. Gritty images from the Task Force Destiny Medevac Program enable the audience to truly experience everyday life and death combat situations at the forward operating bases.

10.       OP ATHENA — Combat, Convince, Construct

(permissions acquired)

45 minutes – French with English subtitles

An Army News production that documents the many activities of the soldiers on Op ATHENA ROTO 3-10, the last eight month deployment of Canadian soldiers for the combat portion of the Afghan mission. From helping the civilian population with medical aid and road building, to security patrols and training Afghan soldiers, the documentary covers all the major activities of a typical Op ATHENA combat ROTO.

7 thoughts on “Tell Me A Story Soldier . . . The Afghan Mission Film Festival

    • Sorry for the delay in replying, just not sure how to reply to such a brief post. Are you an Afghan Veteran interested in sharing your stories and photos or are you interested in having the film series come to your community or organization?

  1. I would live to have the films shown in Kingston. If it doesn’t happen here…I will certainly travel to see it if it ends up being shown in Petawawa or Ottawa. Thanks for making this happen.


    • Hi J. At this point the films will be shown at the Canadian War Museum 10 November and I am working on Petawawa and Kingston. If you know any organization or facility that would like to host a showing of the films please send them my way. I travel on my own dime with a portable theater set up, so all I need is an appropriately sized venue with electricity (and a place to crash while I’m there would also be much appreciated)

  2. GREAT work sharing – good show!

    Quick question: what, exactly, does “open for booking” mean? You’re looking for a venue? Awaiting feedback from the local MRFC? Something else?

    Thanks for the clarification.

    • The film series is looking for additional venues on its journey across Canada. The tentative itinerary is at the page in this site for the film series. Currently booked however Edmonton, Moose Jaw, Regina, Shiloh, North Bay, Ottawa, St. John’s, Gander and Corner Brook. Queries to Many thanks.

  3. Pingback: News Highlights – August 21, 2013 | Blog

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