Private Project

Soldiers' Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan: The Artist's Process

In her series, "Soldiers’ Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan," artist Jennifer Karady collaborates with returning military veterans to restage a moment from war, producing narrative photographs that reveal how their war experiences infiltrate their daily civilian lives. The film chronicles the intricate and intimate process between Karady and one of her subjects, former Army Specialist Lucero Morales, as they connect a traumatic incident in Najaf, Iraq, with the popping sound of a biscuit can as Morales prepares breakfast for her children. They ultimately stage a photograph that helps Morales begin to heal.

The trajectory of their collaboration is traced through scenes of interviews, discussions that include Lucero’s children, rehearsals of physical action, the photo shoot and Lucero’s reaction to the final photograph 9 months later.

  • Jennifer Karady
  • Jennifer Karady
  • Jennifer Karady (Producer)
  • Mary Ann Toman (co-producer)
  • Joey Forsythe (co-producer)
  • Lucero Morales
    Key Cast
  • Nicolas Morales
    Key Cast
  • Emma Morales
    Key Cast
  • Jennifer Karady
    Key Cast
  • Anton Seim
  • Glen Mordeci
  • Jennifer Cox
    Additional Camera
  • Joey Forsyte
    Additional Camera
  • Ross Willett
    Additional Camera
  • Donald Harrison
    Additional Camera
  • Joey Ostrander
    Additional Camera
  • Matt Kohn
    Additional Camera
  • Mary Ann Toman
  • George Hatzdimitriou
    Assistant Editor
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes 54 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Full HD
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Fine Arts Film Festival
    online screenings June 8-14, 2020
    June 8, 2020
    Humanitarian Award and Official Selection
  • International Fine Arts Film Festival
    Santa Barbara, CA (online April 2021)
    United States
    April 26, 2021
    Honorable Mention and Official Selection
  • Festival International du Film sur l'Art
    online screening March 16-28, 2021, Canada only
    March 17, 2021
    Official Selection
  • GI Film Festival
    online screenings May 20 and May 23, 2021
    United States
    May 20, 2021
    Nomination for Best First-time Filmmaker and Official Selection
Director Biography - Jennifer Karady

Jennifer Karady is an award-winning artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her nationally and internationally recognized project, Soldiers' Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan, has been exhibited widely, including at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Palm Springs Art Museum, the University of Michigan, Berman Museum of Art, the Ringling Museum of Art, SF Camerawork, University of Denver and CEPA Gallery. Her work was featured on PBS NewsHour, in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, Polka, on National Public Radio, reviewed in Frieze, and published in books such as Suffering from Realness, Art and Agenda, Out of Rubble, and Bending the Frame. Public collections include San Francisco MOMA, LACMA, The Albright Knox Gallery, Palm Springs Art Museum, Smith College Museum of Art, and the Harn Museum of Art. Karady’s numerous residencies and awards include the Witt Residency at the University of Michigan, Yaddo, MacDowell, The Headlands, Blue Mountain Center, Getty Creative Images Grant, and grants from the Compton Foundation and New York State Council for the Arts. She was awarded the 2017 Francis Greenburger Fellowship for Mitigating Ethnic and Religious Conflict at Art Omi.

"Soldiers’ Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan: The Artist’s Process" is Karady’s first foray into documentary filmmaking. The film won the Humanitarian Award at the 2020 Fine Arts Film Festival in Los Angeles, Honorable Mention at the 2021 International Fine Arts Film Festival, Official Selection in Le 2021 Festival International du Film sur l'Art and was nominated for Best First-time Filmmaker at the 2021 GI Film Festival.

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Director Statement

The film's portrayal of life after combat trauma has gained new resonance in this present moment of uncertainty and anxiety. Like war, the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic are taking, and will continue to take, an unprecedented psychological toll on society for years to come.

By identifying with and relating to the stories and photographs in the series, "Soldiers' Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan," I believe that we, collectively, might begin to find a way forward through our grief, loss, anxiety, depression and isolation, and help so many of us recognize that we are not alone in our suffering.