Patriot Guard Riders

USA / 2011 / 73 mins / documentary feature / DC Premiere / directed by Ellen Frick

Sunday, March 4

US Navy Heritage Center
$10 in advance HERE or at the door
Sponsored by Harley Davidson of Washington DC
Filmmaker in Attendance


A moving revealing journey astride thundering motorcycles to the sometimes silent, sometimes turbulent funerals of young soldiers killed in action. The film follows the men and women of the Patriot Guard Riders, a group of motorcyclists originally formed to protect grieving families from members of the Westboro Baptist Church who gather at military funerals to harass families for allowing their sons and daughters to serve.  Sympathetic to the families at the most tragic time of their lives, the motorcyclists escort fallen soldiers from the airfield to the burial grounds, where they form a protective shield around the bereaved families. This small volunteer group of motorcyclists has grown to 200,000 in just five years.

“A powerful image of citizens in action, accomplishing within the law what battalions of lawyers and politicians have failed to do in court, which is to support free speech while sending a message about the limits of what is tolerable.” – Philip Grey, Military Times

“This is the most important documentary of the year. Frick has captured the strong, enduring sentiment of the Patriot Guard Riders, that every fallen soldier is our hero. And every hero deserves our highest respect and dignity.” – Mayor Joe Jaworsky, Galveston, TXDirector

Ellen Frick’s  documentary work focuses on people facing extraordinary challenges, and undergoing powerful changes. “A Healing Art” won this year’s American Documentary/POV Award and Audience Award for the Documentary Challenge which had 148 entries from 15 countries. She is a member-owner of New Day Films, a 40-year-old cooperatively owned educational distribution for social issues films.  A licensed Professional Engineer, filmmaking is Ellen’s second career.