The first British feature film about the conflict in Afghanistan has been honoured at the Raindance Film Festival. The Patrol was named Film of the Festival at the prestigious London event. Writer and director Tom Petch said he was “really pleased to win”.
He says: “The festival has curated a great selection of films, and judges including Julian Assange gave it an individual voice. It provided a unique opportunity for The Patrol to raise the issues of British involvement in Afghanistan.”
The Patrol isa bold new Afghanistan-based military film that explores questions not fully debated in the mainstream media about the war in Afghanistan. The UK Premiere took place at Vue Piccadilly on Friday 4th October. The Producers, Cast and Key Crew attended, and there was a Q&A after the performance chaired by Raindance Founder Elliott Grove.
Examining the gritty realities of warfare, The Patrol uses fictional characters to explore the war, and asks important questions about a war that has claimed the lives of over 400 British servicemen and women to date, exceeding the Iraq war death toll. With the scheduled withdrawal of all NATO troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and Western powers looking to intervene in Syria, these questions could not be more pertinent.
The Patrol is the debut feature film by British filmmaker Tom Petch. Having served in the British Army for eight years including tours in Cambodia, Bosnia and with the Special Forces, Petch meticulously researched the equipment, language and tactics of the war in Afghanistan, drawing on the problems faced by the patrol directly from real accounts of British Army experiences in Afghanistan.
He says: “I was so angry with the way the war was being portrayed, with no commentary on how it was being fought or explanations for all the soldiers being killed. No-one was asking the right questions.
“This is my view. I have been as honest as I can. I welcome the opportunity presented by Raindance Film Festival to generate discussion around this fiercely controversial and emotive topic.”
At a special screening of The Patrol for British Afghanistan Veterans, attended by Sky News (see http://news.sky.com/story/1147447/afghan-war-legacy-film-wins-at-festival), the ex-military personnel said:
“It successfully asks a lot of the questions that needed to be asked.”
“The most realistic portrayal of the Afghanistan War.”,
“The issues in the film would resonate with most frontline troops.”,
“Thought provoking, good use of characters, group dynamics under extreme pressure”.