Sundance ’06 competition doc “The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez” will have a North American limited theatrical run this April through Atopia Distribution. A DVD release will follow this summer.

Marine Lance Cpl. José Antonio Gutierrez was one of the 300,000 soldiers the U.S. military sent to war in Iraq in March 2003. A few hours after the war began, his picture was broadcast all over the world: he was the first American soldier to be killed in Iraq. He was also a so-called ‘green-card soldier’ — one of approximately 32,000 non-U.S. citizens fighting in the ranks of the U.S. armed forces, who would receive U.S. citizenship as compensation for their sacrifice.

“The Short Life of José Antonio Gutierrez” tells the moving story of a one-time street kid from Guatemala, who, full of hopes for a better future, immigrated to the U.S, ultimately to die an American hero in the deserts of Iraq. Director Heidi Specogna retraces José Antonio’s path — from Guatemala through Mexico to the United States — and meets the people who accompanied him on his journey: his friends from the street, the social workers at a Guatemala orphanage, his sister, his foster family in Los Angeles, and, at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, the marines who were with him at the end.

Go to YouTube to see the trailer for “The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez”

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