Directed, written, and produced by former Police Sgt. Thomas Marchese, the documentary "Fallen" examines the statistics of U.S. police officers killed in the line of duty and the untold stories behind them, through the eyes of the partners, families, and communities left behind. The film is narrated by Michael Chiklis and hits theaters and video on demand (VOD) September 8th via Gravitas Ventures.
"I felt compelled to make this film, first off, out of an overwhelming sense of survivor's guilt," Marchese told POLICE Magazine. "A feeling that I owed it to the profession, and those that gave everything in service of their community. Those are very patriotic and majestic sounding words, but few actually take the time to really take in what they mean. There is such devastation in the wake of these losses that the average person knows nothing about. The goal was to pull back the curtain and give the viewer a look, if even just a hint, of all the lives that are affected when an officer is murdered."
Marchese was a sergeant with the Soledad (CA) Police Department when he was stabbed and almost killed on a domestic violence call. His wife was one of the EMTs in the ambulance that responded. The law enforcement profession can be hard on officers and their families. Marchese wants others to get at least some idea of what it's like to lay your life on the line every day.
"The goal of the film was simple," Marchese says. "If the audience takes away just one thing from this movie, I hope that it's that officers are just people. They are human beings. I'm not trying to make up anyone's mind for them with this movie. No matter your politics, or assumptions about the job going in, I just want to show the viewer what it's really like to risk your life every single day for people you don't even know, and what's truly at risk. All I can do is show you the humanity of the job. If you choose to not be affected or empathetic to that, it's on you."
So far, audiences have been receptive to the message. However, reaching a wider audience is more difficult. "The response and support has been absolutely incredible. But we are still facing an uphill battle to get the movie in front of the people we need to," says Marchese. "It's great to get the movie in front of law enforcement families and loved ones, and to show them that their loss and sacrifice has not gone unnoticed, but the real challenge is to get the general public out to see it. People that may not fully understand what we go through. What the families go through. That's the ultimate goal. To show them the humanity on the other side of that uniform."