08/19/2010 05:18 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

ReThink Interview: Amir Bar-Lev, Director of The Tillman Story (VIDEO)

I've been waiting for Amir Bar-Lev's documentary, The Tillman Story, for a long time. Pat Tillman was America's most famous soldier -- a pro football player who turned down a lucrative NFL contract after 9/11 so he could join the Army Rangers and serve his country. Though Tillman shunned the media and did not want to talk about his motivations for joining, he was held up by the military, the public and politicians from both sides as a paragon of patriotism, selflessness and sacrifice -- traits rarely attributed to well-paid superstar athletes. But Tillman was much more complex than the patriotic caricature that had been placed on him, and when he was killed by friendly fire while fighting in Afghanistan, the military and the Bush administration orchestrated a massive cover up to keep this simplified, heroic image in place to promote both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming that Tillman died bravely taking the fight to the enemy and saving his unit. See the trailer for The Tillman Story below.

The day after the Los Angeles premiere of The Tillman Story, I talked with director Amir Bar-Lev about what compelled him to make the film, why Americans weren't more outraged when it was revealed that the made-for-Hollywood stories of Tillman and Jessica Lynch were lies, how Americans romanticize war, and the film that changed Bar-Lev's life. See my ReThink Interview with Bar-Lev below.

The Tillman Story opens today, Friday, August 20. As many of you know, studios decide how widely to distribute a film based on its opening weekend grosses, so if you can see The Tillman Story this weekend, it will really help to get this important film in more theaters so more people can experience it.

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