Milestone Film co-founders Dennis Doros and Amy Heller have formed Milliarium Zero, a new film distribution company that will handle films with strong social and political content. First up for the new outfit is “Winter Soldier,” a look at the 1971 Winter Solider Investigation conducted by activist group, Vietnam Veterans Against The War. The film was made by a collective of filmmakers who worked together to create the rarely seen documentary.
The name for Doros and Heller’s new outlet translates as “zero milepost,” named for the official landmark opposite the White House in Washington D.C. “Winter Soldier” will open for a week run at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater on August 12th, followed that night by a panel featuring 10 filmmakers and at least five of the soldiers.
In creating “Winter Soldier,” a group of filmmakers, calling themselves ‘Winterfilm,’ worked to document the testimonies of many veterans. Included in the collective are Fred Aronow, Nancy Baker, Rhetta Barron, Robert Fiore, David Gillis, David Grubin, Barbara Jarvis, Barbara Kopple, Michael Lesser, Lee Osborne, Lucy Massie Phenix, Roger Phenix, Benay Rubenstein and Michael Weil. The filmmakers worked over four days and nights, with donated equipment and film stock, to shoot footage of more than 125 veterans, among them a young John Kerry. The footage was edited over eight months to create the 95-minute movie. Screened in Cannes and Berlin, including a brief run at Cinema 2 in Manhattan, the film failed to get a TV broadcast and has been rarely seen since.
“We thought that ‘Winter Soldier’ gave us the perfect opportunity to start a brand-new venture that had its own identity — a company that could take risks on powerful and possibly controversial films,” explained Milliarium co-founder Dennis Doros in an email conversation with indieWIRE. “We are disturbed by the lack of discourse in the United States — caused, perhaps, by a general lack of commitment and passion, anxiety about being in a minority, fear of our own government, and feelings of apathy and paranoia.” Continuing he added, “There are brave filmmakers and distributors out there who are trying to make a difference and we want Milliarium to be part of this effort.”
After the run in New York, Doros and Heller have booked the movie at a number of other venues, including Minnesota Film Arts in Minneapolis and the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago for a week in mid-September, a night each at the Avalon in Stamford, CT and the Detroit Film Theater at the Detroit Film Institute (in August and November respectively), and a week at Reel Artways in Hartford, CT in late September.