ABOUT THE FILM
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.
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.
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.