Shadow Company

Shadow Company

Infobox Film
name = Shadow Company

caption = Movie poster for "Shadow Company"
director = Nick Bicanic
Jason Bourque

producer = Nick Bicanic
Remy Kozak
writer = Nick Bicanic
Jason Bourque
starring = Robert Young Pelton
Peter W. Singer
music = Andrew Wanliss-Orlebar
cinematography = Jarred Land
editing = Les Lukacs
distributor = Purpose Films
released = August 23, 2006
runtime = 86 min.
country = USA
awards =
language = English
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0762133

"Shadow Company" is a documentary directed by Nick Bicanic and Jason Bourque and narrated by Gerard Butler. It is an introduction to the mercenary and private military company industry, concentrating on the role the industry has been playing in recent conflicts. It was released on DVD on August 2006.


The documentary film is not presented with a complete voice narrative nor a linear story-telling structure. Instead, most of the documentary deals with the issues presented in a topical fashion. There are three primary methods that the filmmakers use to organize and present information. The first is through the personal account of a security contractor named James Ashcroft, the second is to pose questions and directly answer them, and the third method is to utilize small case studies. This is the only film in existence that contains footage of Blackwater soldiers training in Iraq. Director Nick Bicanic was invited to a Senate Committee Hearing to testify on the subject of mercenaries/PMCs on Sept. 21, 2007. This is the only film sanctioned by Amnesty, both sides of the Senate, Blackwater and the U.S Armed Forces. Fact|date=October 2007

Letters from James

At certain intervals in the documentary, the audience is read different letter excerpts from a security contractor named James Ashcroft (voiced by Gerard Butler). The letter scenes explain the details of James work and life in Iraq and a small amount of his personal history. Much of the comedy from the documentary is displayed in these scenes. In addition, the letters serve as an opener and a closer for the interview portions of the documentary.

One scene displays a quick montage of James’ life up to Iraq. The viewer finds out James Ashcroft was a graduate of Oxford University. Sometime after graduation he joined the British military and later on performed bodyguard work in Milan and Paris. When the audience listens to his first letter, they find out that he quit his last job at a law firm before heading to Iraq.

His new line of work in Iraq involves being a security contractor for a reputable private military company. He says he is on a ‘six on three off rotation’, which means he works for six weeks, before getting three weeks of off time, and the letters are written in the six week time frame. Also he mentions working out of a villa contained in the Green Zone, the area where the Coalition Provisional Authority resides.

What is interesting about Ashcroft's account of Iraq is his everyday observations as a foreigner. For example, he notes that nearly all of the Iraqi males have mustaches. In addition, he eats lamb much of his time there and also ends up watching pirated DVDs of popular Hollywood movies. He also shares his adventures from work. This includes how his firm procures weapons like AK-47s and PKMs from the Sadr City bazaar, and how the American military or his firm deals with insurgents. James Ashcroft's autobiography, Making A Killing, written with the ghostwriter Clifford Thurlow was published by Virgin in the UK in 2006 and the US in 2007.

The Dvd sales donate a part of their proceeds to the Cape Community Elementary School in Freetown, Sierra Leone. has the trailer and recent interviews of Nick Bicanic.


Listed in the press release [] :
*Peter W. Singer, senior analyst of the Brookings Institution
*Alan W. Bell, president of Globe Risk
*Robert Young Pelton, author and adventurer
*Madelaine Drohan, author and journalist
*Ian Church, adventurer
*Phil Lancaster, Major (Ret.) of the Canadian Forces (aide of Roméo Dallaire during UNAMIR [Dallaire, Romeo, "Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda", Carroll & Graf, 2004] )
*Slavko Ilic, security contractor
*Cobus Claassens, security contractor
*Neall Elliss, private military contractor
*Doug Brooks, IPOA president []
*Stephen J. Cannell, producer, creator of The A-Team
*Eike-Henner W. Kluge, professor of ethics
*Frances Stonor Saunders, author and historian
*John F. Mullins, soldier of fortune
*Tasha Bradsell, journalist


* [ "Who's Fighting Our Wars?"] , AltnerNet News, January 9, 2006.
* [,%202006&ws_len=815&ws_lni=4JGY-H1S0-TWMB-51XT-00000-00&ws_title=Anger%20deep%20in%20the%20heart&ws_refer= "Anger deep in the heart of Texas"] , Toronto Star, March 17, 2006.
* [,%202006&ws_len=829&ws_lni=4JGY-H1S0-TWMB-51XW-00000-00&ws_title=Shadow%20of%20the%20front%20line&ws_refer= "Shadow of the front line"] , Toronto Star, March 17, 2006.
* [ "Shadow Company"] , Hollywood Reporter, June 22, 2006.
* [ "In the company of mercenaries"] , North Adams Transcript (MA), December 7, 2006.
* [,%202006&ws_len=176&ws_lni=4KYN-7R30-TX4G-3337-00000-00&ws_lastupdate=20060924&ws_title=LEO'S%20PRAISE%20FOR%20GRITTY%20WAR&ws_refer= "LEO'S PRAISE FOR GRITTY WAR MOVIE BY SCOTS DIRECTOR NICK"] , Sunday Mail, September 24, 2006.

External links

* [ Official site]
*imdb title | id=0762133 | title=Shadow Company
* [ Making A Killing - James Ashcroft's official website]
* [ Blackwater Watch]

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