Winner 1995

Coming Out Under Fire

DeepFocus Productions

This documentary, deftly produced in the style of movies of the 1940s, takes the contemporary debate about gays and lesbians in the military back to its origins during World War II. Interviews with veterans whose lives were altered by the military’s policies toward gays and lesbians document this little-known chapter of U.S. Military history. These interviews reveal the veterans’ relationships with other gays and lesbians during service and the personal and public humiliations they suffered as a result of military practices. Military documents and sex education and mental health films from World War II illustrate the military’s obstinate and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to expunge homosexuals from its ranks. Under the superb direction of Arthur Dong, the production was inspired by the Allan Be’rube’ book of the same title. Mr. Be’rube’ co-wrote the screenplay with Mr. Dong, with narration by Salome Jens, editing by Veronica Selver, music by Mark Adler and photography by Stephen Lighthill. For providing a particularly insightful account of a controversial subject, a Peabody Award is given to DeepFocus Productions and PBS for Coming Out Under Fire.