Sundance Channel to Premiere Body of War on Veteran’s Day Documentary Directed and Produced by Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue

Portrait of Iraq War Veteran Slated for Veteran’s Day Premiere November 11 at 7pm

"Superb Documentary! Unbearably Moving!" – Richard Corliss, Time Magazine

New York, September 22, 2008 Sundance Channel will recognize Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2008, with the television premiere of the feature documentary Body of War winner of the National Board of Review award for Best Documentary, Written, produced and directed by legendary talk show host and first time director Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro the film explores the experience the story of Iraq War veteran Tomas Young, whose spine was severed by a sniper’s bullet within a week of arriving in Iraq, leaving him paralyzed for life at age 25. Body of War also features two original songs written and performed by Eddie Vedder. The film was in national release earlier this year handled by the independent distributor, the Film Sales Company.

The film follows Young as he returns home to Missouri, marries in August 2005 and begins the next chapter of his life as an outspoken member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Interwoven with scenes of Young’s daily reality is archival footage of the historic debate that unfolded in October 2002, when President Bush raised the specter of a nuclear Iraq and Congress debated the joint resolution that granted him authority to invade Iraq.

Director and producer Phil Donahue said, "It’s important that people understand the deep impact of war on our citizens long after the war is over. Ellen and I are so pleased that Sundance Channel will make the film available on television to millions of Americans. Tomas Young is one of thousands of returning veterans forced to adjust to serious changes in their lives in the wake of this war, and it’s critical that their stories get out there."

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) was founded in 2004 by Iraq War veterans to give voice to the large number of active duty service people and veterans who are against this war, but are under various pressures to remain silent. From its inception, the IVAW has called for immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces in Iraq; reparations for human and structural damages suffered by Iraq; and full benefits, health care and other supports for returning service people. The IVAW membership includes recent veterans and active duty service people from all military branches, National Guard members, and reservists who have served in the U.S. military since September 11, 2001. The organization has members in 48 states, Washington, D.C., Canada and numerous bases overseas, including Iraq.

Body of War was acquired for Sundance Channel by Ian Bricke, Senior Director Acquisitions and Programming, on behalf of Sundance Channel, from Andrew Herwitz, The Film Sales Company President, on behalf of The Film Sales Company.

About Sundance Channel:
Under the creative direction of Robert Redford, Sundance Channel is the television destination for independent-minded viewers seeking something different. Bold and uncompromising, Sundance Channel offers audiences a diverse and engaging selection of films, documentaries, and original programs, all unedited and commercial free. Launched in 1996, Sundance Channel is subsidiary of Rainbow Media Holdings LLC. Sundance Channel operates independently of the non-profit Sundance Institute and the Sundance Film Festival, but shares the overall Sundance mission of encouraging artistic freedom of expression. Sundance Channel’s website address is

Rainbow Media Holdings LLC
Rainbow Media Holdings LLC is a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC). Rainbow Media is a leading producer of targeted, multi-platform content for global distribution, creating and managing some of the world’s most compelling and dynamic entertainment brands, including AMC, IFC, WE tv, Sundance Channel, LIFESKOOL, SPORTSKOOL, and VOOM HD Networks. Through IFC Entertainment, Rainbow Media also owns and manages the following: IFC Films, a leading distribution company for independent film; IFC Productions, a feature film production company that provides financing for select independent film projects; and IFC Center, a three screen, state-of-the-art cinema in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village. Rainbow Media also operates Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation, its advertising sales company; Rainbow Network Communications, its full service network programming origination and distribution company; and 11 Penn TV, a company that manages Rainbow Media’s NYC studios and post-production facilities.

Press Contacts

  • Sarah Eaton
    Sr. Vice President, Public Relations
    Sundance Channel

    Katie Lanegran
    Sr. Director, Public Relations
    Sundance Channel