NEW YORK – In 2011, eleven soldiers were arrested and charged with war crimes for killing Afghan civilians for sport. “The Kill Team,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, tells the story of one of those soldiers: Adam Winfield.
The film traces Winfield’s struggle, as he said he attempted to alert the military about the crimes before eventually being persuaded to participate in one of the planned “kills” after he said his life was threatened by his troop leader.
Winfield was sentenced to three years in prison on an involuntary manslaughter charge. He was recently released after serving two and a half years and being credited for his time in prison before his trial.
Director Dan Krauss said he decided to make a film about Winfield after reading an article about the then 20-year-old, who was described in the story as both a whistleblower and a murderer.
“I didn’t understand how he could be [said to be] acting in the moral right and accused of acting in the moral wrong,” Krauss told reporters at the film’s world premiere.
Winfield’s parents, Christopher and Emma, explained when Krauss approached them about making the documentary, they were hesitant.
Emma Winfield said the couple discussed the movie with their son’s defense lawyer Eric Montalvo, who advised them to allow Krauss make the film in hopes that it would help Adam’s case.
Emma said she thought, “If this is going to get my son back, we’ll do what we need to do.”
The movie captures many personal moments for the family, as they sit in their kitchen debating the pros and cons of the plea deals being offered to their son.
Adam also opens up during the movie, and he is filmed in intimate sessions with his psychiatrist, describing his nightmares.
Some of his fellow soldiers, one of whom was sentenced to 24 years in prison, are also interviewed on camera, describing the brutal murders that took place overseas in 2010. Photos of the men the soldiers killed are shown throughout the film.
Krauss created a one-sided documentary, which focused on the Winfields, and painted Adam as a whistleblower. The movie seemingly glosses over the fact that Adam fired shots at an Afghan civilian, and Krauss failed to interview any Army officials for the film.
Krauss defended his decision not to include Army higher-ups in the movie, saying he didn’t want to turn the film into a case of “he said, she said.”
“I wanted it to feel like a story,” Krauss said.
The family’s lawyer added the Army wasn’t in favor of the documentary, which at times made it difficult to film the legal proceedings.
“The Army was not happy about this,” Montalvo said. “They wanted to keep it quiet.”
Adam, who missed the film’s premiere because his flight from Florida was delayed on Friday, is now out of prison and attending college, his father said.
A rep for the Army declined FOX 411's request for comment on the documentary.