4100 Redwood Rd #406
Oakland, CA 94619

Bordering on Treason

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Lorna in Iraq
Lorna with an Iraqi family
Orginal photo taken by Lorna in Iraq




Arts & Culture: Documentary
Human Rights: Civil Rights, Gender, Religion
Information & Media: Communication, Culture, Freedom of Expression, Knowledge, Media
Peace and Conflict: Arms & Military, Conflict, Conflict Resolution, Peace, Security, Terrorism
Politics: Activism, Democracy, Justice and Crime

Project Geography

US: New York
International: Asia

Identity Niches

Children, Islamic, Religious, Student, Women, Youth/Teen


Raised to date: $30,500.00
Estimate to complete: $45,000.00
Total Estimated Budget: $75,500.00
The budget numbers above are accurate as of 03/26/2012


Post Production

Media Type


Project End Use


Key Personnel

Trish Dalton

Trish Dalton is an independent filmmaker whose credits include ONE NIGHT STAND (Director/Producer; Audience Award from Newfest, screened at festivals including Denver, Austin, Miami, and Vail 2011); KERAS & MANIS (editor; Gold Kahuna from Honolulu IFF, Best Editing Award from Los Angeles Reel FF 2010); WHY ARE WE IN AFGHANISTAN? (producer/editor; Studs Terkel Award for Media and Journalism 2010); 34x25x36 (co-producer; aired on PBS and screened at festivals, including SXSW, Full Frame, and True/False 2008/2009); FARM SANCTUARY (co-producer, co-director, Media that Matters Food Award 2007); and TIFFANY’S STORY (director/producer, Tribeca Film Festival 2005).

Jesse Epstein

Jesse Epstein was selected as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine, and her film credits include WET DREAMS AND FALSE IMAGES (Short Subject Online Jury Award at Sundance Film Festival); THE GUARANTEE (Best Short Film at Newport International Film Festival); and 34x25x36 (screened at SXSW, Full Frame, and True/False 2008/2009).

Outreach/Engagement Plan(s)

Lorna, the main protagonist in the film, has been on a continuous photography tour to college and community centers throughout the country.  From the first time she returned from Iraq, she has been sharing her photographs and stories from Iraqi civilians and American soldiers for audiences to become better informed about the consequences of the war.  Upon completion, Lorna will use our film as part of her presentation, thereby creating a lecture-based multi-media program for which to educate American citizens about the Iraq war.  Ultimately, we hope to connect our audience to Iraqis and soldiers through Lorna.

We will also be updating our blog and Facebook accounts for the film regularly.

Additionally, we intend to have a festival run and later to make our film available through online streaming networks, such as Netflix, and for broadcast on TV.


New York State Council on the Arts$17,500.0003/20/2012
Individual Donor$5,000.0003/10/2012
Individual Donor$4,000.0007/20/2011
Personal Contribution$4,000.0008/10/2010


105 Ashland Place, Apt 11E
Brooklyn, NY, 11201

Short Synopsis

Bordering On Treason tells the amazing story of Lorna Tychostup, a single mother and photojournalist who travels to Iraq eight times to put a human face on a horrific global tragedy. Visiting military units and Iraqi families beyond the green zone, she evolves from naïve civilian to established journalist. Through Lorna’s personal journey, Treason explores the complexities of this war and the possibility of hope.


In 2003, Lorna Tychostup, a single mother and photojournalist for a local arts magazine in New Paltz, New York, knowingly risks her life, imprisonment, and a million dollar fine by traveling to Iraq under the threat of war.

On a mission to “bring back the face of the Iraqi people” to
the American public, Lorna returns with images of ordinary Iraqis that
she hoped would sway people against the invasion. Her controversial voyage is challenged in a live television broadcast when FOX News lambastes her efforts as "villainous and bordering on treason," and accuses
her of "aiding and abetting the enemy... on the brink of war."

After the invasion Lorna returns to Iraq. Embedding herself with soldiers and visiting Iraqis in all regions of Baghdad, she seeks to find out how the war has changed the country. She travels without protection in local taxis and stays at small, independent hotels instead of those within the green zone reserved for mainstream journalists. Her peers are brazen twenty-something male bloggers, some of whom are kidnapped.

As she uncovers the experiences of Iraqis and American soldiers, she is forced to question her original agenda; she reports that some Iraqis tell her they like Bush and welcome the soldiers’ presence. Lorna realizes her own naive idealism and begins to challenge both the political left and right’s constructed narratives.

As years pass, Lorna continues to share the stories and images she’s captured on her recurring visits to Iraq. She drives cross-country, sometimes living out of her truck in order to present her photo exhibit and slide show. Her criteria for a show: anywhere that provides a platform, from cafes to campuses. By relaying her adventures, Lorna works to connect Americans and everyday Iraqis. Along the way she meets a range of Americans: students, soldiers, soldier’s families, and Iraqi-Americans.  

In under a decade, Lorna transforms from a small-town mother seeing her children off to college into a seasoned war photojournalist stationed in Baghdad who herself goes back to school and earns a Master’s degree in Global Affairs from NYU.  By 2010, she is working in Iraq as a full time journalist with a USAID organization focused on development and technology.

This documentary has been a 9-year collective volunteer effort by NY-based filmmakers, who like our subject, passionately wanted to understand the Iraq invasion.  We filmed over 130 hours of footage from the initial invasion through the “end” of the war. Lorna’s story has become a longitudinal retrospective on the war. 

Click here to ask for more information about this project: