New York Premiere

USA | 82 MINUTES | English |


Female Director(s), Documentary
They went to Iraq as cooks, clerks, and mechanics and returned a year later as part of America's first generation of female combat veterans. Despite an official government policy that states that women are not supposed to partake in direct ground combat, the five women featured in Lioness most certainly did. Lioness, the provocative and powerful new documentary from Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers tells the story of five women who served together for a year in Iraq. These women made up the core of the group dubbed "Team Lioness" by their commanders. Due to the complexities of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people during this controversial war, some of the women in the US military were used to help defuse the tensions with local civilians. The unintended consequence of this maneuver was that they often found themselves fighting some of the most horrific counterinsurgency battles of the war. Through intimate moments with the women who made up Team Lioness, we get their deeply personal stories of how this experience affected them on the battlefield and what the cost of that deployment has been as they work to rebuild their lives back home. With startling footage and firsthand reports from the streets of Iraq, we get incredible access into the anatomy of a firefight. Hailing from vastly different backgrounds around the country, the women of Lioness give us extraordinary access into each of their lives and a rare glimpse at the essential role that women are playing on the ground in Iraq.


Co-hosted with Human Rights Watch International Film Festival.


Directed by Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers

Meg McLagan is a documentary filmmaker and cultural anthropologist. Her films include Tibet in Exile, which was broadcast on PBS, and Paris is Burning (as associate producer), which won the documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. From 1998 to 2005, she taught in the Program in Culture and Media at NYU. She has published essays on media and activism and is currently co-editing a book on the subject. McLagan received her BA from Yale and her PhD from NYU. Daria Sommers got her start on the PBS series Smithsonian World. She wrote and directed the award-winning Eastern Spirit, Western World, a portrait of Chinese- American artist Diana Kan, Duncan's Shadow, and the award-winning Ready to Burn. She recently completed Sawadika American Girl, a feature screenplay based on her experiences growing up in Thailand in the shadow of the Vietnam War. Sommers is a graduate of Oberlin College.
Director of Photography
Kristen Johnson, Julia Dengel
Meg McLagan, Daria Sommers
Co Executive Producer
Diana Barrett, Sarah Johnson Redlich
Executive Producers
Julie Parker Benello, Wendy Ettinger, Judith Helfand
Stephen T. Maing