A new film about the Afghanistan War is being shot near Medicine Hat next week. The documentary is called Fallen Heroes: Their Journey Home. It will highlight the Canadian soldiers who made their way home after the war and the Highway of Heroes that paid tribute to the men and women in uniform. Robert Curtin, the director and producer for the documentary, says it’s about showcasing the struggles that Canadians faced following 14 years in Afghanistan. He says it also pays tribute to the 158 Canadian military members who died in the war and to those who returned home and faced significant challenges.
“Karen and I have been interviewing personnel for over six and a half years, and that’s personnel of all ranks. They’re in many cases heart-rending stories. There are a lot of tears. Many of these personnel are suffering from PTSD. What is gratifying to us is that in many cases at the end of the interviews they would thank us for giving them the opportunity to bring it back out and tell that story. Not only to a viewer, but also to themselves.”
Robert Curtin along with producer Karen Storwick began working on the documentary in 2012. They started learning about the experiences of soldiers from the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry during their time in Afghanistan.
“We started learning about their experiences through the stories that they would tell. One of the stories that we heard that really moved us was about the first four fallen soldiers in 2002 at Tarnak Farms in Khandahar just after 9/11. That was a friendly fire incident and Canada wasn’t prepared to lose soldiers in that war. It came as a shock not only to the troops on the ground , but also to Canadians at home,” says Strowick.
After that a tribute called the Ramp Ceremony was created to honour the fallen soldiers. Curtin and Strowick said they had to figure out a way to tell the story after that.
The documentary was supposed to be released last year in April of 2022, but covid made it tough for the two to complete the doc. The updated release for the film will now be in April of 2023.
Segments of the documentary will be filmed at Sandy Point Park near Medicine Hat on August 22nd and 23rd. The filmmakers say they are looking for volunteers to play Canadian soldiers along with members of the Taliban.
This batch of filming will focus on the Battle of the White School, which happened in 2006. Many of the participants from the battle will be playing themselves in the documentary. So far there are 40 people coming out to take part.