'Retrograde' gives human face to America's longest war

Alicia Vitarelli Image
Thursday, December 22, 2022
Documentary 'Retrograde' puts human face on America's longest war
Matthew Heineman, an Oscar-nominated and Emmy-award winning director, set out to put a human face on America's longest war in his National Geographic documentary "Retrograde." But during filming, things changed drastically.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- An Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning director captured the final nine months of America's 20-year war in Afghanistan.

Matthew Heineman set out to put a human face on America's longest war in his National Geographic Documentary Retrograde.

During filming, things changed drastically.

"Three months into filming, President Biden pulled out our troops," Heineman explains. "It was clear we had the beginning of the film."

He says it was emotional and dangerous at times.

"There's obviously lots of very close calls in the film, and lots of life-or-death moments," Heineman says. "It was deeply emotional seeing the exodus at the airport in those final days. It was unlike anything I've ever witnessed in my entire career. Nothing really compares to the desperation and the magnitude of the emotions at those gates as the Afghan civilians were desperately trying to flee what they knew was about to happen."

From rarely seen operational control rooms to the frontlines of battle, to unique access with the Green Beret Special Forces, Heineman says we truly understand the relationships forged with the Afghan people.

Retrograde is streaming now on National Geographic Channel, Disney+ and Hulu.

Disney is the parent company of 6abc.