Riveting new doc “Theaters of War” is grabbing international attention

Director Roger Stahl, UNAFF Festival Director Jasmina Bojic, and Co-Producer Sebastian Kaempf at UNAFF in Palo Alto, CA.

Filmmaker and media scholar Roger Stahl’s mind-blowing new film Theaters of War: How the Pentagon and CIA Took Hollywood is having a major international impact. The critically acclaimed documentary played to a packed house at the prestigious United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) in Palo Alto, California, in late October, and last month was awarded Best Feature Documentary at the I Will Tell International Film Festival, a hybrid event that runs in London, Florida, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Theaters of War has been earning high praise from educators, media scholars, military historians, and anti-war activists for exposing how the Pentagon, the CIA, and the U.S. national security establishment have exerted a direct influence on thousands of Hollywood scripts to cast the military-industrial complex and America’s forever wars in a positive light.

You can watch Theaters of War now on the Kanopy streaming platform through your university or public library; purchase a streaming rental or subscription through MEF; or sign up to host a screening. To see if your university subscribes to Kanopy, click here.

UNAFF was founded in 1998 by Stanford educator and film critic Jasmina Bojic to honor the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which this year celebrated its 75th anniversary. Stahl, who directed and narrated Theaters of War and is professor of communication at the University of Georgia, was on hand for a post-screening Q & A at this year’s festival. He was joined by co-producer Sebastian Kaempf, Senior Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies at the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland in Australia, who was also featured in the film.

Praise for Theaters of War 






Theaters of War is a must-see documentary.”

— David Sirota | Journalist and Academy Award-nominated Screenwriter


“An essential contribution to understanding how the military shapes the popular image and story of war. Should be required viewing for media scholars, concerned citizens, and casual media consumers alike.”

— Jonna Eagle | Author, War Games


“A high-impact documentary that the USA’s most powerful filmmakers and warmakers don’t want you to see. Confronts head-on the hugely deceptive images that help to promote one horrific war after another.”

— Norman Solomon | Author, War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death


“An impressively documented examination of the U.S. security state’s role in promoting militarism via popular media. Think propaganda’s the wrong word? Think again!”

— Stacy Takacs | Professor of English & American Studies at Oklahoma State University


Theaters of War convincingly argues [that] the Pentagon’s covert influence over popular culture can have a decisive role in raising support for divisive wars.”

— Jonathan Cook | Middle East Eye


“Lively, engaging, and meticulously researched.”

— Rebecca A. Adelman | Associate Professor of Media & Communication Studies at University of Maryland Baltimore County and co-editor of Remote Warfare: New Cultures of Violence

“This powerful documentary forced me to wonder: How many hours of my lifetime have I spent staring at movie screens and TV screens unknowingly absorbing DOD and CIA propaganda? Is this part of a military-industrial-entertainment complex? Theaters of War is a terrific teaching experience.”

— H. Bruce Franklin | American historian and author of Crash Course: From the Good War to the Forever War


“A tight, compelling, and straightforward documentary that is sure to grab audiences from the living room to the college classroom.”

— Douglas Rushkoff | Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at CUNY/Queens

Theaters of War exposes the entertainment landscape of Hollywood as the monopolistic propaganda arm for what is, by far, the world’s single most militaristic purveyor of cruel and wanton destruction, and the most dangerous institution on the planet.”

— Oliver Boyd-Barrett | Professor Emeritus of Media & Communication at Bowling Green State University

“By taking all this recently acquired knowledge from the highly specialized field of propaganda research and putting it in cinematic format, Roger Stahl and his production team have created a documentary with an outstanding potential for reaching the same masses of people targeted by the Pentagon’s marriage of convenience with Hollywood, an educational achievement for Professor Stahl and his crew.”

— Daniel Espinosa, “Propaganda in Focus”