08/10/2010 03:15 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

'The Tillman Story' Premieres In New York (PHOTOS)

A mix of politically-minded celebrities and media and sports personalities joined Harvey Weinstein, director Amir Bar-Lev, producer John Battsek and narrator Josh Brolin at the premiere of "The Tillman Story" at the Museum of Modern Art's Celeste Bartos Theater Monday,

The documentary about NFL star-turned-soldier Pat Tillman and the government cover-up around his death drew Jane Fonda, Kerry Washington, Jessica Szohr, Kyle MacLachlan, Lawrence O'Donnell, Dan Abrams, Dick Ebersol, Ahmad Rashad, Boomer Esiason, Terry McDonell, and Harry Carson, as well as models Cory Bond and Bekah Jenkins and social types including Lauren Goodman, Serena Merriman, Kyle Hotchkiss Carone and Misha Nonoo.

Perhaps the most in-demand person at the after-party at midtown institution Michael's, though, was Russell Baer, an Army Ranger Specialist and good friend of Tillman's who served alongside Tillman and his brother Kevin in Afghanistan.


Tillman Story
Tillman Story

In the film, Baer explains how his army commanders instructed him to lie to Tillman's family about his death, propping up the myth that Tillman was killed during a Taliban ambush rather than by his fellow American soldiers.

And while the Tillman family cooperated with the documentary -- Pat's mother, Dannie, and father, Pat Sr. as well as younger brother Richard and his widow Marie all appear on-camera over the course of the film -- none was in New York for the premiere.

"Their response was, 'Why would we come to that?'" Bar-Lev said during a Q&A at Michael's. "They have a really strong sense of what is public and what is private in a time when so many of us seem to have lost that."

He added that the family, while promoting the film, is walking a fine line "between celebrating Pat's life and celebrating Pat's death."

The filmmakers added that with only one exception, no military personnel would agree to an interview for the documentary, and the Pentagon had made it clear that all doors would be closed to them as they worked on the film.