2008 Documentary Films Series

The Recruiter



The Recruiter takes viewers to a Louisiana coastal community, where we witness firsthand one recruiter's intense struggle to enlist new soldiers into the U.S. Army. The film offers a glimpse of the human drama surrounding recruits' decisions to enlist through its remarkable central character: the charismatic Sergeant First Class Clay Usie, one of the most successful Army recruiters working in America. Sgt. Usie firmly believes that every American should serve, and that it is his mission to recruit new soldiers from his hometown of Houma, LA. Among the young people on whom Sgt. Usie sets his sights are Lauren, Matt, Bobby and Chris, four teenagers with different reasons and rationales for joining the Army.

Shot in verité style, the film shows the new recruits during their last semesters of high school, as Sgt. Usie prepares them for boot camp. After graduation, each of the recruits says goodbye to their loved ones - parents, girlfriends and (in one case) a wife - before heading off to basic training, where they will hopefully make a successful transition from civilians to soldiers.

Sgt. Usie works closely with four Army recruits to get them ready for basic training. Matt has been the man of the house ever since his dad abandoned the family. He sees the Army as an opportunity to become the kind of man his father never could be. Bobby comes from a long line of military men, but his father is anxious about sending his son to basic training when he is sure he'll end up in Iraq. Lauren comes from a poor background, and sees the Army as her only chance to go to college and be an artist. Chris battles both his weight and a stepfather who does not support his decision, pushing himself under Sgt. Usie's watchful eye to meet the Army's physical requirements for enlisting.

About the Fimmaker: Producer/Director Edet Belzberg, a recipient of the 2005 MacArthur Fellowship, made her directorial debut in 2001 with her Oscar®-nominated film Children Underground. The film also won the Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Prize and the International Documentary Association Award for Best Documentary Film. Belzberg was the recipient of the Anthony Radziwill Documentary Achievement Award. Children Underground was released theatrically before premiering on Cinemax in 2001.

Credits: Directed by Edet Belzberg; Produced by Edet Belzberg and Alan Oxman; Co-Produced by Adam Bolt; Edited by Chad Beck and Adam Bolt; Cinematography by Edet Belzberg, Liz Dory, Rossana Rizzo; Music by Derrick Hodge. For HBO: Senior Producer: Nancy Abraham; Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins.

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