‘Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery’ provides rare, intimate glimpses of the loss, love and pride felt by Section 60 visitors, underscoring the human toll exacted by the military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, while honoring those who sacrificed their lives for their country. Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill capture the sights and sounds of this quiet pocket of Arlington National Cemetery, where families and friends grieve, honor, remember and find comfort and community with others who share profound loss. A reverent snapshot of the ever-expanding Section 60, the film comprises vignettes shot from early morning to sundown. Mourners ranging from young widows and family members to fiances and fellow soldiers visit Section 60 to try and connect in spiritual and physical ways with the loved ones they’ve lost.
Jon Alpert has distinguished himself as an award-winning journalist and a life-long educator and community activist. He has received eleven National Emmy Awards for news and documentary programs and founded the premier not-for-profit media education center in the United States, Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV) in lower Manhattan in 1972.
Between 1974 and 1979, Alpert co-produced five one-hour documentaries for public television. The earliest, entitled ‘Cuba: The People’, presented the first American television coverage inside Cuba in ten years. The New York Times selected Alpert’s work as one of the best television productions in the country that year. His 1977 award-winning piece on Vietnam, called ‘Vietnam: Picking Up The Pieces’, marked the first time an American TV crew had filmed in Vietnam since the war. In 1976, he won one of his three DuPont-Columbia Citations and The Christopher Award for his work ‘Chinatown: Immigrants in America’.
Alpert began contributing to NBC in 1979 with his coverage of the Vietnam-China Border Wars. Over the next dozen years Alpert’s investigative reporting, editing, and camera work earned an impressive string of awards and scoops. When Fidel Castro came to address the United Nations, Alpert and his team were the only non-Cubans allowed access to Castro. He was in China during the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and by posing as a tourist, reported from parts of the county off-limits to other reporters. Alpert’s Gulf War news reports won the Italian Peace Prize awarded by the President of Italy. He is the only reporter to have interviewed Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War. Altogether, Alpert’s work with NBC earned a total of seven National Emmy Awards, five Monitor Awards, the Clio Award, and the Gabriel Award. He remains the only Emmy-winning reporter to be also honored in the editing and camerawork craft categories as well.
In recent years, Alpert has worked with HBO to produce a series of investigative documentaries including ‘Lockup: The Prisoners of Rikers Island,’ which won critical acclaim and the highest ratings of any HBO documentary. In 1995, ‘High on Crack Street - Lost Lives in Lowell’ was hailed as the best anti-drug documentary ever made. It won Alpert’s third DuPont-Columbia Award. He was recently honored for with several Emmy Awards for ‘Baghdad ER’, an acclaimed HBO documentary that also won a George Foster Peabody Award.
Throughout these many global successes, Alpert has remained committed to DCTV and its mission of promoting strength and diversity in the media by empowering independent producers whose artistic or cultural roots are based in the community. DCTV’s programs for minority youth have transformed former drop-outs into student video champions winning an array of festival awards and honors. It is no wonder that the Mayor’s office called DCTV’s programs ‘the best in the City.’
Matthew O’Neill is a video journalist, producer, and director currently working for DCTV in New York. He worked on ‘Bolivia: Coca and the Congressman’, ‘To Have and Have Not: The Changing Face of China’, ‘Venezuela: Revolution in Progress’. In 2004 he was awarded the Pew Fellowship. In the summer of 2005 he spent over a two month period in the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Iraq for filming ‘Baghdad ER’. He won two local Emmy Awards.
Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery
53', color, video
Jon Alpert, Matthew O'Neill
David Meneses, John Cusrodio, Brent Renaud, Craig Renaud
Jon Alpert, Matthew O'Neill, Rebecca Abrahams