PBS will air the documentary Iwo Jima: From Combat to Comradesas part of its Veterans Day programming on November 10.
Hosted by actor Ryan Phillippe, the doc is about a reunion between a small group of American and Japanese Second World War veterans who fought in the battle of Iwo Jima 70 years ago and reunited in March of this year.
Two film crews were on hand to capture the event: an American unit who followed Lt. General Larry Snowden, U.S. Marine Hershel “Woody” Williams and Army Air Corps fighter pilot Jerry Yellin, and a Japanese crew that followed Tsuriji Akikusa, the lone Japanese survivor who travelled to the eight-square-mile Japanese island for the reunion.
The doc was produced by Arnold Shapiro Productions in association with Cente Services Corporation for PBS’ ‘Stories of Service’ programming strand, which focuses on war veterans and U.S. military history.
“This film is an odyssey from the hell and hatred that was the battle of Iwo Jima in 1945, to the forgiveness, friendship, and healing which happened this year on the very island that saw perhaps the fiercest fighting of World War II,” said executive producer Arnold Shapiro in a statement. “The 70th anniversary commemoration ceremony on Iwo Jima embodied the phrase, ‘once enemies, now friends,’ and we watched as men’s lives were transformed before our eyes.”
Phillippe starred in the Clint Eastwood film Flags of Our Fathers as John “Doc” Bradley, who was one of the men seen raising the U.S. flag over Iwo Jima in a now-iconic photograph. Both of his grandfathers are World War II veterans and his father served in Vietnam.
Other programs to air on the U.S. pubcaster around Veterans Day include Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History and the ‘Independent Lens’ film Stray Dog, about Vietnam veteran Ronnie Hall.
PBS Distribution will release Iwo Jima: From Combat to Comrades on DVD in December.
Watch the trailer below: