John C.P Goheen Releases New Film Honoring Veterans

Goheen with Darrell and Kathy Rusk, the parents of Marine Pfc. Colton W. Rusk and the Marine's bomb-sniffing dog, Eli. Rusk was killed in 2010 in Afghanistan by Taliban sniper fire. The dog had crawled on top of the wounded Marine to protect him after he was shot. The fallen Marine's parents were allowed to adopt Eli in 2011.

CHICAGO, IL – John C.P Goheen, a three-time winner of NPPA's Ernie Crisp Television News Photographer of the Year title, has released a powerful new feature-length documentary honoring America's military veterans.

Goheen, an independent filmmaker and instructor at Loyola University Chicago’s School of Communication, served as the director for "V-DAY 11.11.11," overseeing the production, editing and outreach of the film. He also shot one of the film’s most powerful stories, a tale of a family who adopted the canine their son handled before he was killed in combat.

Inspired by his time in the U.S Army Signal Corps, Goheen says the idea of "V-DAY 11.11.11" was born out of a desire to commemorate the service of military personnel.

“Our goal was to provide a way for living veterans and the families of fallen veterans to speak about things they generally prefer to keep to themselves. [This film] provoke[s] the kind of thought and reflection that Veterans Day is all about," he said.

Cameras followed veterans of all ages, gender and branches of the military in their communities across the country on the momentous November 11, 2011 Veterans Day. Under the direction of Goheen and a volunteer force of executive producers, celebrated photojournalists and filmmakers across the country donated their time and talent to the project. Footage was then woven together to create a quilt of stories that tell the experiences of being a veteran.

The range and depth of perspectives included in the film is broad, as stories date from the Civil War Battle of Pittsburg captured at the Shiloh National Military Park to modern day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The audience meets a Gold Star Father; a group of veterans who use golf therapy to bond over the experience of serving in a war; as well as Hopi Indians, and a Vietnam veteran who plants a tree to commemorate fallen soldiers, among many others. The stories of the profiled veterans are punctuated by a roundtable of veterans who share insights and memories of serving their country and the unique pride and brotherhood of military personnel.

Fred Shook of Colorado State University describes the film as “… just natural, honest and believable accounts from people who lived or are living the story told through their own actions, reactions, and behaviors. It illuminates so many values and beliefs in our nation that are worth protecting and the sacrifices necessary to protect them.”

Goheen was NPPA's first three-time winner of the Ernie Crisp title. He's a founding faculty member of NPPA's Advanced Storytelling Workshop, and he's currently teaching video, production, and documentary filmmaking at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communications. He's been an NPPA member since 1983.

A generous grant awarded by Chicago-based non-profit Tawani Foundation aided in the exhibition and outreach costs of this non-profit project. In order to increase the number of opportunities for the film to be viewed, the film is being offered for free to any veterans’ organization across the country who wants to host a screening. In addition to nationwide screenings, the documentary is also being submitted to film festivals, developing a social media presence and partnering with public television stations and national cable networks.

The film was partially funded by the Tawani Foundation and with support from Loyola University Chicago; MissionVision Productions; Moots Productions; Network Nirvana; Terranova Pictures; LLC; Pat Woodard Productions; and the World Witness Project.

If you know a veterans’ group, military museum, community organization, or school or university who is interested in receiving a free copy of “V-DAY 11.11.11” to host a screening, please [email protected] or call +1.312.915.6972.