Lioness, the new documentary film project involving Julia Dengel, airs Wednesday or Thursday night on PBS's show "Independent Lens." (Check local listings.) Dengel co-shot the film, which was produced and directed by Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers.
Dengel, who lived in Durango for several years, wrote, directed, and narrated Cowboys, Indians, and Lawyers, a 2006 film about the Animas-La Plata Project and that aired on PBS nationwide.
Lioness, Dengel's second documentary for PBS, tells the story of the first women in U.S. history to be ordered into ground combat, in Iraq and Afghanistan starting in 2003 and 2004. Dengel describes the film:
Without sufficient training but with a commitment to serve as needed, these young women ended up fighting in some of the bloodiest counterinsurgency battles of the Iraq war. Lioness makes public, for the first time, this hidden history.
Told through intimate accounts, journal excerpts, archival footage, as well as interviews with military commanders, the film follows five Lioness women who served together for a year in Iraq. With captivating detail, this probing documentary reveals the unexpected consequences that began by using these Army women to defuse tensions with local civilians, but resulted in their fighting alongside Marine combat units in the streets of Ramadi. Together the women's candid narratives describing their experiences in Iraq and scenes from their lives back home form a portrait of the emotional and psychological effects of war from a female point of view.
Watch the trailer: