Posted by: Through the Eyes of Women | March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011: Host Corinne Frugoni Interviews Film Director Meg McLagan.

LIONESS tells the story of a group of women support soldiers who went to Iraq in 2003 as clerks, mechanics and engineers and returned home as partof this country’s first generation of female combat veterans. Our goal in making LIONESS was to use the power of their stories to focus attention on the military’s below-the-radar expansion of women’s roles into combat, a historic shift that continues to unfold in Iraq and Afghanistan. LIONESS is the first film to represent this country’s rapidly growing population of women combat veterans.  While based in the Sunni    Triangle, the women in our film were regularly attached to all-male combat units with the mission of defusing tensions with Iraqi women and children as part of an ad hoc Army program called “Team Lioness.” With the rise of the insurgency, they ended up fighting in some of the bloodiest counterinsurgency battles of the Iraq war. Yet these women’s stories were never mentioned in news accounts of these battles.  Through intimate verite scenes, journal excerpts, archival footage and interviews with commanders, the film follows this original group of lionesses as they resume their lives back home and confront the reality that they were called upon to do the one thing they were told they would never do: engage in direct ground combat. The practice of assigning women to all-male combat units is ongoing in both the Army and the Marines. However, because the combat exclusion policy remains in place, these women return to a society that does not fully understand or acknowledge the roles that they played. LIONESS bears witness to their hidden experiences and creates a space in the national conversation for their voices to be heard.


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