Dawn Westlake

“I was born during the Vietnam War and have vivid memories of being a small child and seeing war reports on the TV day and night. I wasn’t sure it was real, though. I confused what I saw in television news with war movies starring John Wayne which also came on TV, from time to time. When I spoke of this confusion to my father, he started sharing Life Magazine with me, and we would look at the pictures and discuss how very real and horrible war is.

In making this film, what was striking in going over the stills and stock footage from WWI to the present and looking at what Bruce Rheins shot in Iraq was the realization that while the technology of war has “improved”, along with the technology of how to cover it (stills/film/digital video), the emotional toll on society is the same. The faces of the dead, dying and wounded are interchangeable from WWI to Gulf War II.

Also, no matter the year, violence breeds revenge which breeds more violence. It was also shocking to me to face so much ‘censorship’ while making the film. Americans don’t seem to know anymore that they have not only the right but the duty to question those who would try to suppress their freedom of speech and expression.”

--Dawn Westlake
(August 20, 2003)



Dawn Westlake, Thomas Moser, Joel Moser

Running time: 8 mins.

Hardware Used: SONY PD-150 (NTSC), SONY DCR-PC 101E (PAL), SONY Cybershot 2.0, Sennheiser Wireless Lavalier Microphone (ew100 series)

Software Used: Adobe Premiere 7.0, Sound Forge 6.0, Vegas Video 3.0, After Effects 6.0, Adobe Photoshop 7.0, Knockout, and Maya

Production dates: July 6, 2003-November 8, 2003

A Life of Death was first published in the book Elburn: 44 Miles to Chicago ©1989 by Donald G. Westlake. The poem was rewritten in February 2003 to reflect the current world situation.

Location filming was done in Joliet & Wheaton, Illinois, USA, and Umm Qasr, Iraq.

Gregory Johnson, Bruce and Dawn, Bruce Rheins All inquiries regarding the film should be addressed to:
Dawn Westlake - dawnwestlake@hotmail.com
To purchase this film for home viewing, click here.


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