The Invisible War – Thoughts from the Assistant Editor

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Hi, everyone! Ed Alva here. As some of you may know, I currently work for documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick and served as assistant editor for his latest film, The Invisible War, a film about sexual assault in the US military. It has just been nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature. I still can’t believe it.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think I would become as invested in the project as I ended up being. My friends know I’m not a particularly political guy; while I try to follow the news and keep up with current events, I’m normally not one to take up a cause and fight for it. But working as the assistant editor for this film, having to log, annotate and organize literally hundreds of hours of footage, watch interview after interview of men and women who proudly served yet were ultimately betrayed by their military, it was very hard not to be affected. Every single person who came forward to us could have been main subjects. Each of their stories was so compelling and horrifying to the point where some days I would literally go home and proceed to eat a tub of ice cream to try to get my mind off it. Each of the survivors’ stories and the military’s systematic dismissal of the issue made me more and more outraged, a far cry from my apathetic, non-activist self when I first started the project.

I feel extremely honored to have been able to work with Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering, Tanner Barklow, the editors Doug Blush and Derek Boonstra, as well as the rest of the team behind The Invisible War; the film would definitely not be where it is today without their direction. Nothing will be able to undo what has happened to the countless victims of military sexual assault, but hopefully this film has helped and will help make sure that this does not happen to anyone else.