Last November, when I brought news about Phil Donahue's directorial debut as a documentary filmmaker, there wasn't much known. We learned that it was focused on a paralyzed Iraq War vet named Tomas Young, that Donahue was financing it himself and that any profits would go to charity and to Young, and that he still had a lot to do before the film would be finished. It seems to be done, though, now. The former talk show host has been screening the doc, which he co-directed with Ellen Spiro (Troop 1500), in his Manhattan apartment, for a number of acquisitions execs from various distributors.
The film now has a title: Body of War (which sounds to me a little too close to Lord of War). It also has newly confirmed controversial subject matter: it criticizes many Democratic leaders, including Hillary Clinton, for their support of the Iraq War. Reportedly only one Democrat, Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, is okay in Donahue's book. Body of War will feature a soundtrack of new music from Eddie Vedder that he wrote specifically for the film. Contrary to what I had predicted, it does not feature Donahue on camera in Michael Moore fashion. Donahue is hoping for a wide theatrical release, though the execs seem to be more interested in a smaller scale. Already the film has been accepted to one of this fall's prestigious film festivals, though it isn't known which -- possibly either Toronto or Venice -- so we'll probably see how it is received publicly before we hear about any concrete distribution plans.