From a snowy small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, Where Soldiers Come From follows the four-year journey of childhood friends, forever changed by a faraway war.
A film about growing up, Where Soldiers Come From is an intimate look at the young men who fight our wars and the families and town they come from. Returning to her hometown, Director Heather Courtney gains extraordinary access following these young men as they grow and change from reckless teenagers, to soldiers looking for roadside bombs in Afghanistan, to 23-year-old veterans dealing with the silent war wounds of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and PTSD.
Enticed by a $20,000 signing bonus and the college tuition support, best friends Dominic and Cole join the National Guard after graduating from their rural high school. Soon their group of friends joins them, and eventually the young men are sent to Afghanistan, where they spend their days sweeping for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). By the time their deployment ends, they are no longer the carefree group of friends they were before enlisting; repeated bombs blowing up around their convoys have led to TBI symptoms, and they have all become increasingly disillusioned about their mission.
The challenges really begin to surface when they return to their families and communities in Michigan. Where Soldiers Come From looks beyond the guns and policies of an ongoing war to tell a human story about family, friendship, and community and how they all change when young people go off to fight.
Where Soldiers Come From won the 2012 Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction Award, and is a co-production of Quincy Hill Films and ITVS, in association with American Documentary | POV. The film had its national broadcast premiere in Fall 2011 on PBS’s award-winning documentary series POV, and has been chosen as an encore broadcast in September 2012.