Taylor Lee Nagel is a Class of 2018 Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow. She is a film director and producer. Along with co-Fellow Emma Findlen LeBlanc, she will spend her fellowship year making a documentary about Iraq war veterans. Previous documentary projects include a series about a Mexican immigrant’s journey across America, as well as a feature-length documentary about the Strangers Project, a traveling storytelling exhibition. Nagel has also produced independent narrative films that have screened at festivals in the United States and internationally. She has a B.A. in political science from Barnard College.
Nagel and LeBlanc’s project—A Normal Soldier—follows a group of soldiers deployed to Iraq’s “Triangle of Death” in 2007 and 2008. The film tracks these soldiers ten years later, back at home, as they move through their daily routines, while also narrating the events of their deployment. The film explores the challenges of reconciliation that these soldiers face: the reconciliation of Iraq and America, war and peace, the past and the present, the roles of soldier and civilian, and their two worlds governed by often contradictory values and rules. Through these parallel narratives A Normal Soldier offers a reflection on the Iraq war and America’s relationship with the war, its soldiers, and veterans.