RTF Grad’s Documentary Nominated for Independent Spirit Award

It’s no secret that Austin has earned a spot as one of the nation’s hottest film towns, hosting events like South by Southwest and the Austin Film Festival. Further proof: Where Soldiers Come From, a documentary directed by UT RTF grad Heather Courtney, MFA ’00, has been nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

The documentary focuses on a group of friends in Courtney’s rural Michigan hometown who join the local National Guard, then end up being deployed to Afghanistan. It’s a coming-of-age film, Courtney says, not simply a war story. It follows a four-year period of the boys’ lives—from their enlistment to the adjustment period following their tour overseas.

Where Soldiers Come From premiered in March at SXSW Film, where it earned a jury award for best editing. Courtney credits the Austin film scene for her success in the industry.

“It’s definitely more of a community in Austin, as opposed to an industry,” she says. “A lot of the people who worked on the film with me were fellow UT graduate students. Austin just fosters this idea of working together.”

The winner of the “Truer than Fiction” Independent Spirit Award will be announced in January. To watch the full documentary, visit the Where Soldiers Come From website or PBS’s Point of View page.


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