November 09, 2009 16:54 ET

"TATTOOED UNDER FIRE" Reveals the Heartbreaking Psychological Burdens of War on Iraq-Bound and Returning Soldiers Stationed at Fort Hood -- America's Largest Military Post

To Premiere on Public Television Beginning November 8, 2009

KILLEEN, TX--(Marketwire - November 9, 2009) - As the nation continues to grapple with the causes and the impact of the recent shootings at Fort Hood military base, The Independent Television Service (ITVS) and Austin PBS affiliate KLRU present "TATTOOED UNDER FIRE," a new documentary shot on location in and around Fort Hood and Killeen, Texas. Premiering this month on public television beginning November 8, 2009 (check local listings), "TATTOOED UNDER FIRE" captures the chronological history of the stress and anguish of military duty experienced by Iraq-bound and returning U.S. soldiers. What emerges is an evocative, poignant and highly personal look at the human and cultural cost of war, and the pressures of life on America's largest military post.

"When a tragedy like this occurs at a place like Fort Hood, it is very unusual for public television to be able to respond immediately with a national premiere of a new program so deeply connected to these difficult events," said Sally Jo Fifer, CEO and President of ITVS. "As we struggle to understand the meaning and impact of the horrific incident at Fort Hood, we hope this very timely and important film will help shed some light on the challenges our soldiers face and of life in the Fort Hood community."

Directed by Nancy Schiesari "TATTOOED UNDER FIRE," was shot over four years and centers on the military ritual of getting inked, interweaving the personal stories of six central characters -- and their relationships to the war in Iraq -- with the visual expressions of their tattoos. River City Tattoo Parlor owner/artist Roxanne Willis and her team of tattoo artists welcome young men and women daily: as they arrive, shed their uniforms and carve permanence into their transitory flesh. Some seek to adorn their limbs, make a statement, ward off evil with fierce engravings or honor a loved one.

Some seek grizzlier images, like "meat tags." A play on traditional dog tags, "meat tags" are a morbid marker of name, DOB and serial number, designed for posthumous identification. Tattooed just under the armpit on the torso, they are strategically located in the place most likely to remain intact in the event of death by IED explosion. The young men and women are introduced as they are being tattooed; raw recruits at first and then as returning soldiers, changed in ways only their fellow soldiers can grasp. Through the creative and sometimes subversive act of tattooing, these young soldiers use skin to create personalized images and words revealing a seldom seen part of the psyche of the American soldier.

"TATTOOED UNDER FIRE" is a coproduction of the Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with KLRU-TV, AUSTIN PBS. The national television premiere will be broadcast on public television in more than 25 cities.

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