The screenplay for Sand Castle was inspired at sunrise in an abandoned Iraqi palace.
Chris Roessner was guarding the palace and during his down time he watched the movie Platoon, a classic depicting the experience of young men during the Vietnam War. Chris decided to write a screenplay about what it was like for HIS generation in the Iraq War.
Chris joined the Army to help pay for college tuition – film school to be precise. Then 9-11 happened. He found himself part of civil affairs unit in Iraq during which he says he was able to witness both our mission successes and failures.
Sand Castle tells the fictional story of an inexperienced Army Private who, along with his fellow soldiers – is ordered to repair a water pumping station destroyed by US bombs. Sand Castle debuts April 21 on Netflix.
Sand Castle was the first screen play he has written. He remembers advice given by directing great Robert Zemeckis “If you want to do this job, you can..but it’s going to cost you your twenties.”
As a Tillman scholarship recipient, Chris credits the Pat Tillman Foundation for much of his success.
Chris shares his two most important motivations for this film; showing the shared sacrifice of US and Iraqi soldiers and his insistence that the actors look and be young. “It is crucial that the American populace not be corrupted in their image about what an American soldier looks like. If we are going to send people to war, the image of who we are sending better be abundantly clear.”
TAKEAWAY: “Obviously serving in a war time military is the toughest thing you can do – it is clearly emotionally taxing. But the difference is that in the military you are serving alongside people who are focused intently on a common goal that is bigger than themselves. You don’t realize how rare that is.”