A day before the film’s U.S. premiere at New Orleans’ Orpheum Theater, Got Your 6 announced that Lionsgate’s “Deepwater Horizon” has been honored as a “6 Certified” project.
The campaign recognizes film and television programs that help normalize the depiction of veterans as leaders and community assets.
Based on the true events that occurred on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, the film chronicles the courage of those who worked on the Deepwater Horizon. Mark Wahlberg stars as Mike Williams, a veteran Marine who epitomized leadership and refused to leave anyone behind even when faced with dangerous circumstances. While Williams’ service is only mentioned once, his veteran character provides a strong and positive portrayal of veterans. “Deepwater Horizon” hits theaters on Sept. 30.
“The Marines have a saying, ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine,’ said Bill Rausch, Iraq War veteran and executive director of Got Your 6. “I’m an Army veteran, but I appreciate the mentality that Marines aren’t off duty just because they’re retired. Marine veteran Mike Williams refused to leave anyone behind during the Deepwater Horizon disaster, just like he would have done on the battlefield. We could not be more proud of Mark Wahlberg for his portrayal of Mike, and we thank long-time veteran supporter Peter Berg and the entire Lionsgate team for showing the world what veteran leadership is all about.”
“Former Marine, Mike Williams was portrayed respectfully and responsibly,” said Veterans in Film & Television executive manager Sarah Serrano. “His level-headed leadership, resilience, and even comic relief under immense pressure are the kinds of qualities veterans carry on long after military service.”
In early 2015, at an event featuring First Lady Michelle Obama, Got Your 6 launched the “6 Certified” initiative as a way to challenge industry executives and content creators to craft more thoughtful narratives around veterans and military families. Since the initial launch, projects such as Fox’s “Gotham,” FX’s “Fargo,” Universal Pictures’ “Jurassic World,” NBC’s “The Night Shift,” and ABC’s “Modern Family” have all received “6 Certified” designations.
To become “6 Certified,” a project must contain a representative and balanced depiction of veterans and fulfill at least one of the following pledges:
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Research or consult with real veterans, family members, or subject matter experts in an effort to create accurate representations
CAST A VETERAN
Hire a veteran actor to play a substantial role
HIRE A VETERAN WRITER
Employ a veteran writer to contribute to the narrative
PORTRAY A VETERAN CHARACTER
Develop a multi-dimensional veteran character
TELL A VETERAN STORY
Develop a narrative with meaningful and accurate veteran themes
USE VETERANS AS RESOURCES ON SET OR IN WRITERS’ ROOMS
Have veterans present for consultation throughout the filmmaking process
After the project has met the requirements for certification, it may be submitted by a studio or production company once the project enters post-production. After the submission is complete, the project is evaluated by the “6 Certified” Review Committee, a group of subject matter experts who review all submissions and grant “6 Certified” status.
The current members of the “6 Certified” Review Committee include: Bruce Cohen, producer of “American Beauty” and “Silver Linings Playbook”; Greg Silverman, president, creative development and worldwide production, Warner Bros. Pictures; Charlie Ebersol, chairman and founder of The Company; Amy Gravitt, executive vice president, HBO Programming, for Home Box Office; Bonnie Carroll, president and founder of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS); Tim Norman, director of human resources, DreamWorks Animation; Sarah Serrano, manager of Veterans in Film & Television (VFT); Seth Smith, director of campaigns and programming for Participant Media; and Bill Rausch, executive director of Got Your 6
Additional information on certification is available at gotyour6.org/6-certified.
The “6 Certified” program is operated by Got Your 6, the national veteran campaign that empowers veterans to lead a resurgence of community across the nation. The campaign believes veterans return home as leaders and team builders and is named after the military term meaning “I’ve got your back.”