day one Trailer




Inspired by a true story, DAY ONE depicts a new translator’s first day accompanying a US Army unit as it searches for a local terrorist. As she quickly discovers, her job will bring up brutal complexities as gender and religious barriers emerge with lives hanging in the balance.


Director's Statement

In boots, my interpreter stood just over five feet tall. Her father had given her a man's name, but her story is a classic woman's saga of finding herself after divorce. She just happened to do all this soul searching with a group of forty infantrymen, getting shot at on a remote mountaintop in Afghanistan. On patrol, she held a dog's leash connected to my body armor. She had fallen during one particularly frightening firefight that ended with us running hand in hand toward the safety of a large hole in the ground. We had landed in a farmer's cache of fertilizer--a literal pile of shit. As we laughed together, I realized that, as the platoon leader, I needed both the use of my hands and her proximity at all times to communicate. So from that point on, the leash connected us. 

In 2009, the director served with US forces fighting in Afghanistan. This story was inspired by his interpreter.

In 2009, the director served with US forces fighting in Afghanistan. This story was inspired by his interpreter.

This woman, my interpreter, is a fighter. My family fights. It's what we do; we've served continuously since the Revolutionary War. Fighting beside her changed me. It changed the way I understood universal love. I left the army after my tour with her in order to pursue filmmaking and when the time came to make a film about the war, I knew I would start with her story. I had found this one woman in a masculine world both bridging and challenging gender and culture norms. Her strength provided a light strong enough to cut through the fog of war. She is so many things: American, Muslim, female, combat veteran. She is also my muse.


Entertainment WeEkly Interview  -  Print  -  Radio  


Oscar's Shortlist

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that DAY ONE is 1 of 10 live action short films advancing in the voting process for the 88th Academy Awards®.


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded DAY ONE Narrative Gold Medal at the 42nd Student Academy Awards ceremony, held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.



The Television Academy Foundation awarded DAY ONE 1st place in the Drama category and the Directing Award at the 36th College Television Awards. 

Michael Steiner accepts 1st place in Drama.


DAY ONE took home the 2015 BAFTA US Student Award!

Variety Article // The Wrap Article


Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

FirstGlance Film Festival Los Angeles

Ivy Film Festival

Little Rock Film Festival

Cinegear Expo Film Series

Independent Filmmaker's Showcase

San Luis Obispo Film Festival // BEST STUDENT SHORT & AUDIENCE AWARD

Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival // BEST NARRATIVE SHORT

USA Film Festival // JURY PRIZE



Cannes Emerging Filmmaker Showcase

Telluride Film Festival

Mill Valley Film Festival

LA Shorts

Seattle International Film Festival

Nashville Film Festival

Calgary Film Festival

Catalina Film Festival

Stony Brook Film Festival // BEST SHORT

Oxford Film Festival // BEST SHORT  



About the AFI Conservatory

At the world-renowned AFI Conservatory, a dedicated group of working professionals from the film and television communities serve as mentors in a hands-on, production-based environment nurturing the talents of tomorrow's storytellers. The Conservatory is consistently recognized as one of the world’s top film schools.

With an emphasis on narrative visual storytelling and personal expression, each class breaks into teams that mirror a real production environment. Those teams collaborate on and produce more films than any other graduate level film program.

Established in 1969, the two-year Master of Fine Arts program provides training in six filmmaking disciplines: Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting. Admission to AFI Conservatory is highly selective, with a maximum of only 140 graduates per year.


Among the many notable alumni

DAVID LYNCH (Dir.) Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, Dune

AMY HECKERLING (Dir.) Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

TERRENCE MALICK (Dir.) Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, Tree of Life

DARREN ARONOFSKY (Dir.) Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, Black Swan

STEVE GOLIN (Pro.) Babel, Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine

DANA LUSTIG (Pro.) Brick, Dancing at the Blue Iguana, Kill Me Later

WALLY PFISTER (Cin.) Inception, The Prestige, Memento, Batman Begins

ROBERT RICHARDSON (Cin.) Kill Bill, The Aviator, Inglorious Basterds



JANUSZ KAMINSKI (Cin.) Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, Munich

MATTHEW LIBATIQUE (Cin.) Cowboys and Aliens, Black Swan, Iron Man

STEVEN ROSENBLUM (Edit.) Braveheart, X-Men, Blood Diamond, Defiance

VICTOR DU BOIS (Edit.) The Last Samurai, Profiler, Roswell

SUSANNAH GRANT (Scr.) Erin Brockovich, Unfaithful, Everafter, 28 Days

PAUL SCHRADER (Scr.) Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Bringing Out The Dead

TODD CHERNIAWSKY (Des.)Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Armageddon

JOE GARRITY (Des.) Sunshine Cleaning, Waiting for Guffman, My Girl

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