A moving documentary about the life of a fallen Navy SEAL opens in select theaters nationwide Friday, and the Pulaski native who made the film says he can't wait.
Filmmaker Scott Mactavish, a Navy veteran and graduate of Pulaski County High School, says after 9/11 he wanted to make stories about honor, courage, and commitment the focus of his documentaries. And several years ago, he met the family of a soldier from New York who exemplified all of those qualities.
Lt. Michael Murphy was killed in 2005 while serving in Afghanistan. He was leading a team of SEALs who were searching for an anti-coalition militia leader when they came under fire by Taliban fighters. Because of the terrain they were in, he was unable to send out a call for help, so he willingly walked out into the open, knowing he'd get shot, to get a clear signal and save his fellow soldiers.
Murphy was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, which was presented to his family by President George W. Bush.
Mactavish says he was honored when the Murphys gave him the opportunity to make a documentary about his life.
"Really the endgame is to shine the light on the type of person that would give his or her life for his or her men and their country," Mactavish said.
"MURPH: The Protector" tells Murphy's story through the accounts and memories of his family, friends, and team members. Mactavish did a special screening for Murphy's friends and family last October, which caught the attention of Regal Entertainment Group, which owns Regal Cinemas.
The company invited Mactavish to its headquarters and then offered to do a limited release of the film in more than 100 of its theaters nationwide.
"Frankly, we're all still in a bit of shock seeing all of these theaters with number one: the [movie] poster up; and number two: the name of the movie on the marquee," Mactavish said. "You hope that happens, but when it does, it's really kind of a surreal feeling."
Both Regal and Mactavish will donate a portion of the proceeds from "MURPH: The Protector" to the Michael Murphy Foundation, which awards scholarships to students and soldiers.
The film opens in select theaters Friday. The Regal Cinemas in Christiansburg is the only local theater showing it. However, if it does well this weekend, Regal plans to extend its run and show it more theaters.
For more information about the documentary and to view a trailer, go to www.murphmovie.com.