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Civia Tamarkin, Director


Civia Tamarkin is an award-winning television news producer and magazine reporter. JERABEK is her first effort as director of an independent documentary feature.

Tamarkin was Executive Producer of CNN’s Emmy Award weekly news magazine show “CNN&Time.” Before joining CNN, she produced investigative series for ABC World News Tonight, Nightline specials and contributed to ABC’s breaking news coverage. Since 2002, her company has developed and produced documentaries, including three for ESPN.

Prior to her work in television, Tamarkin was a special correspondent for People Magazine, reported for Time and wrote for various other publications, covering stories around the world, including the fall of Vietnam. She authored a book, two plays, and edited a literary magazine.

Tamarkin, has received numerous awards including a National News and Documentary Emmy, an Edward R. Murrow Award and Overseas Press Club Award.

She divides her time between her native Chicago and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Director’s Statement

PFC Ryan Jerabek was killed a few weeks after the first anniversary of the fall of Iraq, nearly a year after President Bush stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and announced an end to major combat.

By then, the spectacle of Baghdad being bombed had receded from memory just as Operation Iraqi Freedom ceased to be a global media event. Much of the country appeared to be back to business as usual and despite the unprecedented access of embedded reporters, the conflict seemed far removed from the lives of most Americans.

Beyond the casualty counts, there were few reminders that the war was real. The Pentagon banned the release of photos and videos of flag-draped coffins and the media, fearful of criticism, shied away from running battlefield images. Even the decision to read the names and show the faces of America’s war dead on the news created controversy as the Iraq debate heated up in the 2004 election year.

As a widow trying to work through my own grief, I thought about the families of those anonymous casualties. Sadly, their pain was drowned by the political din. What seemed missing from the canvass of orchestrated media coverage was a close, personal look at the war.

Then, in April 2004, I learned about Ryan Jerabek from the Green Bay, Wisconsin photographer who covered his funeral for the local newspaper. Just 18 years old, Ryan was the youngest Wisconsin serviceman killed in Iraq at that point. He was not well-known, but his death brought the war home. What struck Steve Levin, the photographer, was how the community seemed to be grieving with the Jerabek family.

We set out to tell the story of this one fallen Marine. Hesitant at first, the Jerabeks allowed us into their lives. Marines from Ryan’s company bared their emotions in uncensored accounts of the war and remarkably, an embedded photographer captured the moments surrounding the ambush that cost Ryan’s life. His images along with photos withheld by the government offer a picture of war that much of the public has not seen.


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