Day Zero

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I recently noticed a “surge” in traffic at dayzerothemovie.com and traced much of the activity back to lewrockwell.com/blog.  It turns out that Frank Golubski posted a notice about the film and linked to our site.  My curiosity about Lew led to a brief correspondence with him about the film, and he suggested I tell you a little bit about Day Zero, why we made it, and why we believe it to be an important and timely film.

Day Zero is an independent drama that follows three best friends (Elijah Wood, Chris Klein, Jon Bernthal) in NYC after they receive their draft notices and are given 30 days to report for duty.  It takes place in an imagined near-future wherein the war on terror has expanded, requiring a draft to fill the ranks.  The film follows the friends during this 30-day period during which they confront their beliefs about duty, honor, courage, friendship and love.  The film also stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Ally Sheedy, Elisabeth Moss, and Sofia Vassilieva.

I produced the film, which we shot in April 2006 and World Premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2007.  Of note, the trio of writer, director and producer included (in no particular order) a liberal, a conservative, and a centrist.  So how did we collaborate to make a “political” film?  The answer, for my part at least, is that we didn’t make a political film in the traditional sense which, to me, is one that takes a biased stance and attempts to persuade the audience to its argument.

Instead, we made a film meant to provoke thought, introspection, discussion, and debate.  Mandatory conscription is a concept and practice that dates back literally millennia.   Day Zero asks the simple but universal question: what would you do if called to serve?   It’s a question, like those surrounding guns or abortion, about which people tend to have extremely strong opinions.  It’s a question whose answer is ultimately rooted in all that is deeply personal.  

Is it influenced by one’s view of government (left or right), war, class, or religion and morality?  Of course.  But it is also shaped by who we are, how we perceive ourselves, how others perceive us and interact with us, and how we live our lives.  These latter, most personal factors are ones we rarely stop and think about (for the most part).  

With Day Zero, what we’ve tried to do is to get people to stop and ponder for themselves — not a knee jerk, but a consideration . . . when you come home from work, check the mailbox, and sort through the pile — you see that envelope from the Selective Service Administration . . . what do you do?  How do you feel?  How do you respond?  How do you treat others around you?  And ultimately — what choice do you make?

What’s been most gratifying, in this age of disposable entertainment (when was the last time you chatted about a blockbuster beyond the ride home from the theater?) is how the audiences at our screenings let us know — by email, phone, blog posts, reviews, etc. — that Day Zero stayed with them.  They continue to think about the characters and how they would respond in their place long after the credits rolled.  Even better — they continue to discuss it with their friends and family.  In that regard, I’m extremely proud and feel like we did our job.

Day Zero is due for a small-scale theatrical release later this year.  If successful it will be rolled out to more screens in more markets.  It will also eventually be available on DVD.  We hope to see you in the theater, and hope the film stays with you long after.

August 9, 2007