Got Your 6 announced this week 13 new “6 Certified” projects in celebration of film, television, and theatrical content that normalizes depictions of veterans as leaders and community assets.
Projects to receive “6 Certified” status include feature films Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Sully” and Lionsgate’s “Hacksaw Ridge,” independent films “Roadtrip Nation: The Next Mission” and “Citizen Soldier,” and episodes and seasons of the Netflix original series “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” “Justified,” “Hap and Leonard,” and “Power Triumph Games,” among others. For the first time, Got Your 6 honored a theatrical production by granting Broadway musical “Bandstand” “6 Certified” status.
The fourth slate of “6 Certified” projects since the program’s inception was announced at the organization’s 2016 Storytellers event hosted at The Television Academy’s Saban Media Center in Los Angeles. The annual event showcases veterans who are utilizing their unique skillset and military experience to strengthen communities across America, while also celebrating the content creators working to tell those stories.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a film or television project should be worth a million,” said Bill Rausch, Iraq War veteran and executive director of Got Your 6. “That’s why leading into Veterans Day we are celebrating the content creators who are accurately portraying our amazing men and women who have transitioned out of the military and are leading in their communities. Every veteran is a civic asset, and these latest projects to be ‘6 Certified’ truly embody this narrative.”
Got Your 6 announced the following projects to be awarded with “6 Certified” status:
“Bandstand” – Set in 1945, Bandstand tells the story of musician Donny Novitski who is about to lead his band of fellow veterans into competition for America’s next swing band sensation. Opening on Broadway April 26, 2107, the writers and producers of “Bandstand” reached out to the Got Your 6 campaign for scripting feedback in order to portray veterans accurately and responsibly.
“Cast Me!” – “Cast Me!” reveals the day-to-day work at LA-based agency DK Casting, owned by U.S. Marine Corps veteran David Kang. As an official partner of the Got Your 6 campaign, Myx TV ensured “Cast Me!” was crafted at every stage of production with positive veteran messaging. In addition to one of the four casting directors on the show being a veteran, this reality series also makes it a point to look to the veteran population for their casting needs. Myx TV
“Citizen Soldier” – “Citizen Soldier” is a film told from the point of view of a group of soldiers from the Oklahoma National Guard’s 45th Thunderbirds Brigade. The project tells the true story about their life-changing tour of duty in Afghanistan, offering a personal look into modern warfare, brotherhood, and patriotism. Using real footage from multiple cameras, including helmet cams, these citizen soldiers endeavor to extend their ideals of service into their reintegration at home. Strong Eagle Media
“Hacksaw Ridge” – In theaters on November 4 and directed by Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge” is the true story of Private First Class Desmond T. Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during WWII despite refusing to bear arms on religious grounds. Doss was ostracized by fellow soldiers for his pacifist stance, but went on to earn respect and accolades for his bravery, selflessness, and compassion after he risked his life to save 75 men in the Battle of Okinawa. Doss’ father, played by Hugo Weaving, is a WWI veteran who provides a sobering speech on his personal motivation to serve. Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label
“Hap and Leonard” – Set in the late 1980s, “Hap and Leonard” is a darkly comic swamp noir story of two best friends, one femme fatale, a crew of washed-up revolutionaries, a pair of murderous psycho-killers, some lost loot, and the fuzz. The series follows Hap Collins (James Purefoy), an East Texas white boy with a weakness for Southern women, and his best friend Leonard Pine (Michael K. Williams), a gay, black Vietnam vet. When Hap’s seductive ex-wife Trudy (Christina Hendricks) resurfaces with a deal they can’t refuse, a simple get-rich-quick scheme snowballs into bloody mayhem. Leonard is portrayed as a skilled and resourceful problem solver in this dark comedy. SundanceTV
“Invictus Games Orlando 2016” – The Invictus Games is an international sporting event, created by Britain’s Prince Harry, for wounded, injured, or sick armed services personnel and veterans. The Invictus Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country. Following the inaugural event in London in 2014, the Invictus Games came to Orlando, Florida where 500 competitors from 14 nations inspired the world with their Invictus spirit. The First Lady Michelle Obama attended the Opening Ceremony. ESPN
“Justified” (series) – “Justified” is an American crime drama based on Elmore Leonard’s novella “Fire in the Hole.” For all six seasons, series regular Deputy U.S. Marshal Tim Gutterson (Jacob Pitts), a former U.S. Army Ranger Sniper, displayed his wry understanding of Deputy U. S Marshal Raylan Givens’ (Timothy Olyphant) unconventional law enforcement methods. FX
“Marvel’s Luke Cage” – Mike Colter stars as former U.S. Marine Carl Lucas/Luke Cage. When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage becomes a fugitive attempting to rebuild his life in Harlem and must soon confront his past and fight a battle for the heart of his city. Luke is portrayed as a tough, resourceful character whose heart is in the right place despite his flaws. Netflix
“No Greater Love” – This documentary explores a combat deployment through the eyes of a U.S. Army chaplain who carried a camera in Afghanistan, capturing the gritty reality of war as well as the bond that is made among troops. The film depicts the experience of war and, more importantly, helps viewers understand the personal struggles of reintegrating soldiers. The chaplain discusses his own depression after his service and reunites his battalion to examine the reintegration process with the men he served alongside. Atlas House Productions
“Power Triumph Games” – The “Power Triumph Games” is a multi-round sports competition that challenges world-class military veteran athletes who have overcome catastrophic injury to step outside their comfort zones. Their goal is to showcase veteran’s unique ability to adapt, overcome and thrive. With the United States Military Academy as a backdrop, athletes face eight challenges that are required of cadets to graduate. The games challenge all who see it to raise their own bar of gratitude and achievement. The 2016 games are a three-hour miniseries on CBS Sports Network and a one-hour sports special broadcast on CBS Sports, featuring personal stories of service, character, and triumph. OurVetSuccess and ITN Productions
“Reparation” – Winner of 11 film festival awards, “Reparation” is a psychological thriller that centers around Bob Stevens (Marc Menchaca), a small-town farmer with a three year hole in his memory. When Jerome (played by real life veteran Jon Huertas), his best friend from the U.S. Air Force shows up, Bob’s peaceful existence begins to unravel from the outside in. Co-written by an Air Force veteran, the film takes the audience on a thrilling ride through the mind of a veteran confronting psychological issues, while avoiding the stereotype of the combat-damaged veteran, and echoing the call of duty to watch your buddy’s back. Red Dirt Pictures
“Roadtrip Nation: The Next Mission” – “The Next Mission” showcases the trials and triumphs of post-military transition through the stories of Helen, Sam, and Bernard – three transitioning service members who set off on a road trip across the country to discover their purpose in the civilian world. As they interview fellow veterans who have found fulfilling work beyond service, the team learns that the skills cultivated in the military aren’t limited to the battlefield; they can be applied to any number of exciting careers. Roadtrip Nation, American Public Television
“Sully” – Directed by Clint Eastwood, “Sully” tells the real story of the “Miracle on the Hudson,” when commercial pilot and U.S. armed forces veteran Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger became a hero after performing an unprecedented forced water landing on New York’s Hudson River. Played in the film by Tom Hanks, Sully puts his military training and experience to good use, saving 155 lives by gliding the commercial plane to safety, but even as he was being praised by the public and the media, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy both his reputation and career. Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures
“The ‘6 Certified’ program has created an unprecedented opportunity for leading voices in the military and veterans community to recognize those in film and television who accurately portray our men and women in uniform,” said Bonnie Carroll, president and founder of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). “It’s an honor to be part of the process, and my hope is that this certification, and the knowledge there is oversight and accreditation by those who have served and sacrificed, will encourage the industry to stay true military portrayals.”
“Some veterans are true heroes, and some are truly continuing to suffer the consequences of war long after they return home,” said Seth Smith, director of campaigns and programming for Participant Media. “But between those two extremes are a wide variety of experiences and emotions – stories that need to be told in order for the full range of the military/veteran experience to be realized in media. That is the purpose of Got Your 6 and the ‘6 Certified’ committee. I commend the 2016 honorees for their honest, accurate, and full portrayals of veterans and members of the military.”
“The ‘6 Certified’ campaign is such an important program because the powerful stories of our veterans should not be limited to narratives of broken heroes,” said Miguel Santos, general manager of Myx TV. “With ‘Cast Me!’ we aimed to show a more authentic veteran experience with a first-hand look at how Marine veteran David Kang’s military training set him up for success in the entertainment industry after his reintegration into civilian life.”
“Strong Eagle Media (SEM) is deeply honored that Citizen Soldier has been recognized and certified by Got Your 6, one of the most reputable military and veterans organizations in our country. As is Got Your 6, SEM is committed to telling some of the extraordinary stories of the 2.8 million Americans who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. As storytellers, we are acutely aware that how we tell these stories is critically important. As a result, and as we did with ‘Citizen Soldier,’ we asked our troops to be co-storytellers, intimately involved Gold Star families in the making of the film, and intentionally avoided the politics surrounding the wars. We have learned over time that Americans are tired of that politics, not of hearing the compelling stories of service members and their families,” said Christian Tureaud, David Salzberg, Bert Bedrosian, Wendy R. Anderson, and Bill Marshall of Strong Eagle Media.
“On behalf of the ‘Invictus Games Orlando 2016,’ the organizing committee, and all who played a role, we are proud to be recognized by Got Your 6,” said Ken Fisher, chairman of the Invictus Games Orlando 2016. “The Games were an amazing success, and it showed how the power of sports can make such a positive impact on the lives of those who serve or have served, and their families.”
“Jacob and I feel incredibly honored to be recognized by such a worthy organization. We met when he played a WWII Marine in HBO’s ‘The Pacific.’ I was so impressed by his humor and his depth that I created a character for him in ‘Justified’ – Deputy U.S. Marshal Tim Gutterson. We decided together that Gutterson should be a veteran. We wanted Gutterson to be a man who, not without his troubles and his torments, is able to continue to live a life of service and find some peace – all the while giving Raylan Givens a much-needed ration of you-know-what,” said Graham Yost, executive producer of “Justified.”
“Got Your 6 defends an honest depiction of veterans and military in the media, so it is a high honor to receive their certification for ‘No Greater Love.’ We need Hollywood to continue this dialogue about war and coming home so that our country can process this historic time in our nation’s history. Got Your 6 is an integral ambassador on behalf of those who have sacrificed the most, but are often the least heard, and defends their voices to the world,” said Justin Roberts, former U.S. Army chaplain and director of “No Greater Love.”
“We are honored to be the only program that has twice been ‘6 Certified,’” said Mary L. Hagy, U.S. Army veteran and CEO of OurVetSuccess, producers of the “Power Triumph Games.” “With our dedication to increasing positive public awareness of successful veterans through creating the highest quality television and digital content, we are perfectly aligned with the critical mission of Got Your 6. This prestigious recognition is both humbling and welcome.”
“Got Your 6’s certification is a tremendous honor for the writers and the cast of ‘Reparation,’” said Kyle Ham and Steve Timm, co-writers of “Reparation.” “Unlike traditional portrayals of military veterans, ‘Reparation’ examines the residual complexities of military service — both honorable and dishonorable —within the USAF Security Forces. Grappling with tremendous trauma and stress, these characters, like their real life counterparts, have little or no time to decompress or compartmentalize their encounters. The threat they confront not only comes from outside the wire, but from inside as well – sometimes from their fellow service members whom they are sworn to protect, or from the induced psychological effects of stress. In ‘Reparation’ we confront head-on that collision between duty and friendship, probing the limits of veterans’ call to watch each others’ backs.”
“We believe that all individuals deserve the right to explore the vast career opportunities available to them. We are honored to work with the USO to support our returning service members with the inspiration to not only transition into civilian life, but thrive in a fulfilling career reflective of their unique interests. It is our privilege to have these stories heard and the documentary to be recognized as ‘6 Certified,’” said Mike Marriner, cofounder of Roadtrip Nation.
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 Lionsgate’s “Deepwater Horizon,” 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; 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.”