Where Soldiers Come From (2011)

  • Producer/Director: Heather Courtney
Film Length:
regular 91-minute version, and 82-minute version for high schools (swears bleeped)
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From a snowy small town in Northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan and back, the Emmy Award-winning Where Soldiers Come From follows the four-year journey of childhood friends and their town, forever changed by a faraway war.

A coming of age story, Where Soldiers Come From is an intimate look at the young men who fight our wars and the families and community they come from. Returning to her hometown, Director Heather Courtney gains extraordinary access following these young men as they grow and change from reckless teenagers, to National Guard soldiers looking for roadside bombs in Afghanistan, to 23-year-old veterans dealing with the silent war wounds of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and PTSD, while trying to go back to school. Where Soldiers Come From looks beyond the guns and policies of an ongoing war to tell a human story about family, friendship, and community and how they all change when young people go off to fight.

Where Soldiers Come From won an Emmy Award, the Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction Award, and is a co-production of Quincy Hill Films and ITVS, in association with American Documentary | POV.

The Film Campaign

Where Soldiers Come From is engaging university audiences across the country through Student Veterans of America and their campus-based chapters. As the only recent war film that focuses specifically on students who become soldiers, who then become student veterans, WSCF has been an incredibly effective tool to help build understanding between veteran and non-veteran students through campus showings with post-screening panels and discussions.

James Yauger, Co-Advisor of the Seton Hill University Veterans Club, called their screening of WSCF last fall "phenomenal." He added that "the audience -- a mix of young and older students, veterans of the current conflicts, men and women -- was captivated throughout the entire film. The discussion following was just as impactful as the film, and at times quite emotional."

Where Soldiers Come From is also used by veterans service organizations in workshop settings for veterans to talk to each other about the challenges they face, and military family support groups as a tool for veterans and their family members to open up to each other in a safe space, or spouses and other family members to support each other.

Sign up to host a screening today! If you want to contact the Director/Producer about inviting her and/or others from the film to your event, email quincyhillfilms@gmail.com

Issue: Military & Veterans


New Day Films


  • Emmy Awards - Best Documentary, Continuing Coverage of a News Story
  • Independent Spirit Awards - Truer Than Fiction Award
  • Philadelphia Film Festival - Best Documentary Feature
  • SXSW Film Festival - Jury Award for Editing
  • Traverse City Film Festival - Founders Award, Best U.S. Documentary

Host a Screening: It's Easy As...

  1. Sign Up

    To host a community or campus screening.

  2. Buy the dvd

    Choose the appropriate screening rights for your event.

  3. Plan for max impact!

  4. Get the word out!

    Where Soldiers Come From Flyer Film Flyer
  5. Take Action

    After the film, ask your audience to get involved with your group or take action on a local issue.

    Take Action!
  6. Report Back

    Be sure to let us know how your screening went and how your community is taking action.

    Add feedback!

Purchase a DVD of Where Soldiers Come From as a community group, and host a screening as part of a Veterans Day observance in November. Use the opportunity to raise awareness of local agencies and organizations that support returning soldiers and their families, and possibly partner with a local agency to host the screening.

Encourage your college administrators to implement veteran-supportive programs/policies. Check out the American Council on Education's Veteran Friendly Toolkit and a new initiative from Student Veterans of America.

If you are a student veterans group, co-sponsor a screening of WSCF or other event with another student group (SVA chapters please contact quincyhillfilms@gmail.com for a special discount on screening packages).

Host a screening and panel discussion with veterans of different eras of service and combat experience to discuss the utilization of an all-volunteer force and its effects versus other military service options used in previous wars, such as the Vietnam War. Compare and contrast the experience of soldiers returning after Vietnam with the experience of soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Arrange to correspond with and/or send care packages to troops serving in Afghanistan.

Use your social media to spread the word about initiatives helping veterans. You can get information on some initiatives by signing up on websites for veterans organizations, such as Student Veterans of America.

Event Name Date City State   Location Status
Humana Guidance Center Military Appreciation Month Event May 19, 2015 Columbus OH United States Celebration of Military Appreciation Month Complete
Issues through the lens Jan 22, 2015 newport RI United States newport public library Complete
Dangerous Work Apr 27, 2014 Santa Cruz CA United States Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building Complete
Where Soldiers Come From: Viewing with Local Veteran Discussion Mar 05, 2014 Winston Salem NC United States Forsyth Technical Community College Complete
Where Soldiers Come From: Viewing and Discussion Mar 03, 2014 Westminster MD United States McDaniel College, Hoover Library Complete
Westminster College Veterans Week Nov 14, 2013 Salt lake City UT United States Malouf 201 Complete
Veterans Day Nov 11, 2013 Dearborn MI United States HFCC L-14 Complete
Veterans Week Movie @ the Muc Nov 05, 2013 Vermillion SD United States Muenster University Center Complete

Screenings Near You

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