• film

10th Annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival

Island Soldier

85 mins | Documentary | Federated States of Micronesia, USA | Directed by Nathan Fitch

A remote archipelago of hundreds of tiny volcanic islands in the western Pacific, The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is an independent nation of 100,000 citizens, and a protectorate of the United States. In recent years, the country has become a “recruiter’s paradise” for the US military, especially since 9/11. Yet they have lost fives times more soldiers, per capita, than any US state. The film captures a tightly knit island community—a microcosm of economic, social and political change—as the high price for military service in a foreign nation’s wars cuts deep.

Through an intricate weave of the personal journeys undertaken by Pacific Islander soldiers, the film illustrates the larger story of a remote region whose interests are caught in the ever-changing tides of international politics. Who are these virtually unknown foreign soldiers fighting America’s wars? What does it mean for the United States to use, and practically discard, foreign citizens from their military? What happens to Micronesian veterans, and their families, when they return home and cannot access their benefits (healthcare, treatment for PTSD, loans, etc)? What is the future of these islands that exist at the mercy of foreign superpowers and strategic military interests?

Director Nathan Fitch expected in attendance for post-film Q&A.