Filmmaker Sebastian Junger launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier today for a follow-up to his Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo. And it’s already about a third of the way funded. The new film, titled Korengal: This Is What War Feels Like, is basically a sequel to that 2010 effort, for which he and co-director Tim Hetherington were embedded with a U.S. platoon in Afghanistan for a look at a year on the front lines of the war. Hetherington later died covering another dangerous conflict, the Libyan civil war, and became the subject of Junger’s subsequent film, Which Way Is the Front Line From Here.
Korengal takes us back with the duo to the titular valley for events that happened either following or alongside those in Restrepo. Junger says in his campaign statement that it had been an idea during the editing of the earlier film that they’d come back and make another doc out of the unused footage. That makes it sound almost like what they did with the Anchorman movies, but of course this is reality and also this second film is said to pick up where the other one left off, not be merely a collection of deleted scenes.
Still, it also seems like it might be at least in part an overlap. “The same men, the same valley, the same commanders, but a very different look at the experience of war,” reads the synopsis, and that gives the impression of a simultaneously separate perspective rather than a chronologically successive narrative. Documentaries occasionally get these kinds of “sequels” – see The Beales of Grey Gardens and 65 Revisited (a follow-up to Don’t Look Back), for great examples. In the campaign video, Junger says Restrepo was the experiential version of the experience, and this will be the one that helps us to understand it. That will apparently include what it’s like for some of the soldiers to be back home now, so there’s that element of succession. If this all just sounds complicated, we’ll just have to wait and see what the film actually entails.
The wait won’t be long at all, fortunately. Korengal is already scheduled to open in New York City on May 30th (at the Landmark Sunshine ) and in Los Angeles on June 13th followed by a national rollout to somewhere between 30 and 50 cities. Inspired by Louis C.K.’s Live at the Beacon Theater comedy special, Junger is self-distributing with the help of the $75K he’s clearly going to collect through the crowdfunding effort (it’ll be more, I’m sure). He’s paid up to this point out of pocket, and now he needs the money for advertising and publicity as well as to rent the screens it’ll be showing on. According to RealScreen, a VOD release is set for September. That nearly coincides with the estimated issue of digital streams and DVDs of the film that will go to fans pledging on Kickstarter.
Interestingly enough, this is the second of the 2011 Documentary Feature Oscar nominees to receive a sequel. GasLand was followed by Gasland Part II last year. Now we just need an update on the economy in Inside Job 2, a second trip with Banksy and Thierry for Exiting Through the Gift Shop Again and maybe a hypnotic look at a different giant landfill in Another Waste Land.
Check out Junger’s Kickstarter video, which also functions as a trailer for Korengal, below.