Battle For The Hearts And Minds – Danfung Dennis

On July 2nd, 2009, 4000 US Marines of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade launched a major helicopter assault into an insurgent stronghold in the Helmand River Valley in southern Afghanistan to break a military stalemate that had been reached with the Taliban.

Independent filmmaker Danfung Dennis was embedded with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Company, as they were dropped 18km behind enemy lines to seize a key bridge. Within a few hours of landing, fierce fighting erupts and continues for the next three days, in which Lance Corporal Charles Sharp, from Adairsville, Georgia was was shot and killed by a Taliban fighter. After the initial fighting, the Marines search for the insurgents that killed Lance Corporal Sharp. Frustration sets in as the Marines try to fight a ghost like enemy and IED’s cut them off from resupply. The Marines objective is to secure and protect the population, but the Afghan villagers complain that the fighting has driven them into desert, bombing has destroyed their homes, and intrusive raids disrespect their culture. Trying to balance their roles between warriors and statesmen, the Marines struggle to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.

The footage was shot on a custom built rig, using a Canon 5D Mark II, 24-70 f/2.8 L lens, Sennheiser ME-66 and G2 wireless system, Singh-Ray variable ND filter, and Beachtek 2XAs mounted on a Glidecam 2000 HD with custom made aluminum ‘wings.’

For more information, visit DanfungDennis website.

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