|Cast: ||Michael Freeland, Rebekah Nelson, Brian Floyd, Pamela Tate, Kenny Marshall|
|Crew: ||Producers: Eric Trenkamp, Michael Freeland - Screenwriters: Eric Trenkamp - Cinematographer: Eric Trenkamp - Editor: Eric Trenkamp - Composer: Zach Abramson
John Hidell departs military prison heartbroken with a dishonorable discharge. As he attempts to rebuild his life, documentary-style interviews with his mother and acquaintances describe a lifetime of abuse. Unemployed, he boards a bus to New York with no intention of returning. His only possession - a backpack brimming with homemade explosives.Interviews with FBI agents and Army specialists interweave with Hidell's preparations for his suicide bombing. Oblivious to the surveillance around him, Hidell tours the city, meets a girl and tries to enjoy his last week on earth.However, his one-night stand, Amy, becomes something more. His infatuation with her and New York grows. He hopes for a future. A hope that shatters when his co-conspirators and the FBI come hunting for him. With time running out, he asks Amy for help, but she accuses him of using her. He pleads that their relationship is real, but she's too angry to listen. Hidell takes this as another in a long succession of abandonment - his parents, his friends, his country. All he has left is the backpack.Left alone, he searches for one good reason not to go through with the bombing. He can't.News footage shows us the aftermath of the bombing. Amy throws out every item in her apartment Hidell may have touched, desperate to remove any trace of him. In the final documentary interview, Hidell's mother studies a photo album containing the last snapshot of her son. Numb with grief, she closes the book on him.
Eric Trenkamp is a writer and director of short films and documentaries whose work has appeared in festivals in New York and Los Angeles, including the Queens Arts Council's Queens Art Express, the New York City International Film Festival and Anthology Film Archives' NewFilmmakers Series, as well as on the Independent Film Channel and Current TV. He teaches a class on guerilla film tactics at the Pratt Institute. American Bomber is his first feature length film.
Over the past year there has been an increased awareness in the media and the public of “lone wolf” terrorists – Anders Breivik in Norway, James Holmes in Colorado, school shootings, failed subway bombing plots. “American Bomber” explores the emotional life of such a man.
“American Bomber” also expresses how the cultural effects of war and terror have changed us as a country over the past 10 years. It includes the point of view of soldiers fighting abroad, domestic intelligence trying to stop the next attack before it happens, New Yorkers who live in the constant shadow of such an attack and those whose ideology inspire the murder of thousands.
At the center of the film is a sympathetic portrayal of an average American who loves his country and tries to do everything right. But the indignities of life in the 21st century breed a disillusionment that twists his love into tragedy.