The Austin Film Society Documentary Tour will be screening Tattooed Under Fire on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 8:30pm, at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz. Filmmaker Nancy Schiesari will be in attendance to talk about making this documentary. Tickets to this screening are $6.
KLRU helped present this documentary to the nation on PBS and first aired on KLRU in 2008. Filmed at Fort Hood, Tattooed Under Fire is a unique, intimate, character-driven portrait of Iraq-bound and returning U.S. soldiers as they go under the tattoo needle: openly professing their pride, sharing their secrets and confessing their fears
Read an interview with Schiesari in the Austin Chronicle
Tattooed Under Fire airs Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 9 p.m. on KLRU
“Tattooed Under Fire” is a documentary examining the lives of soldiers at Ft. Hood Army Post. Their lives are documented through the lens of a tattoo shop where soldiers get tattoos prior to deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers share their fear and bravado in anticipation and their shock, anger and sorrow upon their return.
Seen through the eyes of a now 60 year old Vietnam era vet, who signed out of the Army at Fort Hood, Texas, the 25th of January, 1972, Tattoos Under Fire was more than poignant … it was heartwarming and chilling at the same time.
The metamorphosis of the soul that is war is both horrifying and mesmerizing to watch. Similarly, the ripple effect on relationships – positive and negative – is like watching an approaching storm … one can take cover, but the storm will leave its mark.
In the end, for me, 30+ years on, Tattooed Under Fire reminded me of an old adage: The more things change, the more they remain the same.
— Bill Talbott
About the Reviewer: Bill Talbott is a psychologist with more than 25 years experience in forensics and crisis adult mental health. He is currently a free-lance research and training consultant.
When I first started to watch clips of Tattooed under Fire by Nancy Schiesari, I started to see an outline of a unique story that needed to be brought to public television. I saw young men and women just out of high school who were preparing to go to war in Iraq as they as visited a local tattoo parlor near their base. There they revealed their American pride, their concerns and their fears about going over to fight. Then the film provides more revelations upon their return from Iraq. Each soldier gives their own personal perspective giving us the sense of the human and cultural cost of war. Tattooed under Fire gives a perspective and an experience that very few of us will ever experience in our lifetime.
Program: Tattooed Under Fire
Date: Thursday, October 30
Time: 9 p.m.
This documentary takes you on a journey to Killeen, TX, to Fort Hood — the largest Army post in the country. Due to the heavy military presence in the town, all of the shops in the area cater to the needs of the soldiers. In particular River City Tattoo is home, and in some cases family, to many soldiers about to leave to go to Iraq, or returning for 2nd or 3rd tours of duty.
The film features a handful of eager soldiers from the first time they are deployed to Iraq and follows them after they return home and, of course, to the tattoo shop again to add to their “storyboards”. The stories told by these soldiers while they are being inked are heartbreaking and eye-opening. They talk about their friends and fellow soldiers dying in front of them, killing innocent people who interfere with their mission, their struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the fear of going back for another tour of duty, only this time not returning.