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The Kill Team
by Karen Pecota

Filmmaker Dan Krauss writes and directs a feature film narrative taken from his award-winning documentary that screened at TriBeCa in 2013 under the same name, The Kill Team. The story is so disturbing that both filmmaking projects collaborate to explain and expose the chilling impact of the extreme casualties of war. Krauss followed the unprecedented real-life story of a US military platoon active in Afghanistan that brought disgrace and heartbreak upon so many innocent civilians and military personnel.

In 2010, a platoon of US Army infantry soldiers was given the name "The Kill Team" after a whistleblower within the platoon, stationed in Afghanistan, reported on the atrocities he observed and was forced to partake in. Two years later, Krauss addressed the horrific war crimes from the perspective of the accused in his documentary The Kill Team. Four of the implicated soldiers told their story and gave insight into the circumstances of abuse (including killings) of the Afghan civilians.

At the same time, the American military was accused of several unprecedented acts of abuse, torture, and rape. The story of The Kill Team now puts a face on the accusations and the military could not keep quiet any longer. Krauss's documentary focused on the case and prosecution of the whistleblower, Private Adam Winfield, who by association and action wasn't entirely innocent. Winfield's dreams of fighting for his beloved country as a loyal American patriot were shut down by the actions of his superiors, who turned out to be less than honorable. Out of a moral obligation and a battle for justice, Winfield also paid a high price for Liberty.

Krauss's feature narrative tactfully presents Winfield's predicament. He was forced to engage in a dangerous series of events but allowed him to do the right thing. If not taken the role of the whistleblower he might not have lived to tell about it. According to Krauss, "Winfield found his enemies were closer than expected."


Andrew Briggman (Nat Wolff) is a young soldier in the US military on the war against terrorism serving in Afghanistan. Briggman is assigned to a platoon under the direction of hard core Sergeant Deeks (Alexander Skarsgard) who runs a tight ship among his platoon members but not without scruples. Briggman initially has high regard for his command leader and wants to stand out, do a good job and show his wild, lovable and loyal platoon brothers that he can handle his new position as second in command.

Briggman tries to do the job he is asked to do, but when he witnesses repeated inhumane treatment and acts of torture against Afghan civilians under the Sergeant's direction he is sickened by the atrocities. The actions do not line up with the group’s mission nor with the ethics of the United States military. The tension that Briggman finds tears him up inside because he doesn't want to believe his band of brothers could stoop so low. He is first shocked and then angry. Briggman is forced to make some hard decisions because of his job but the consequences prove to be even tougher.