As many of you know, we here at One Of Us Net love movies, so much so that many of us can’t go a day without quoting, talking about, or obsessing over them. Though it’s always fun to theorize about the secretive plot of a certain science-fiction film, or to viciously criticize the latest cinematic bomb starring Adam Sandler, we recognize that film as a storytelling medium can serve as a compelling mouthpiece to important cultural events and issues within our society. It is because of this fact that One Of Us Net wants to bring attention to War At Home, a film currently being developed and financed via Kickstarter by producer David Lawson (Resolution, Spring) and filmmaker Michael Dunker (Best of Both Worlds, Hard) that follows a soldier dealing with the struggles of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) after returning home from war.
The film focuses on Harrison James, a recent veteran who is honorably discharged from the Marines after serving three military tours in Iraq. While Harrison attempts to reestablish a relationship with his wife and three-year-old son, he is constantly plagued by wartime flashbacks and insomnia. Finally deciding to go to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), he is diagnosed with PTSD and begins to heavily self-medicate himself. Eventually becoming distant towards his family, Harrison starts having violent outbursts, endangering those around him and himself. It is only after threatening the life of someone closest to him that Harrison realizes he has an uncontrollable problem. As Harrison’s life continues to spiral ever downwards, War at Home asks one question: Will Harrison become another casualty of the war at home or will he find the help that leads to his survival?
Dunker has recently spoken about what he and Lawson want to achieve with War At Home, explaining that the film will not only explore the various public views of PTSD, but also provide a window of insight for those struggling to understand the seriousness of the illness.
“There is an mindset about PTSD that soldiers should bury their feelings, never opening up about those experiences, and hide away from what happen in war, yet our film explores the repercussions of that old philosophy and embraces the idea of seeking help to those who struggle against the trauma these men and women saw.”
“I want to make this film not only for the solider, but for the family and friends that suffer with them. War leads you to experiences you cannot unsee and it’s the people around the solider that are fighting to understand what is happening on the inside. This film gives that insight.”
Veterans themselves, Dunker and Lawson were stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City when not deployed in the Middle East. Taking into account their own wartime experiences and experiences at Tinker, both Dunker and Lawson plan to start production of War At Home in 2016 in Oklahoma, believing that the state not only best represents their team, mission and values, but is also the perfect place to create many jobs for Oklahoma’s growing film community. Along with Oklahoma’s competitive Film Enhancement Rebate (a tax credit program for film projects), War At Home’s production team will be able to stretch every dollar invested in the production to its fullest to produce the best and most earnest film possible.
According to PTSDUSA.org, one in three returning troops is diagnosed with serious post-traumatic symptoms, and less than 40% of those troops will seek help. While Dunker and Lawson know that their film won’t miraculously cure those suffering from PTSD, it is their hope that War At Home can at least be a film that gives soldiers, their families, and their friends a compelling platform to tell their story and their struggles with PTSD, as well as make others aware of the astonishingly high number of those diagnosed with PTSD.
“Our film won’t fix anyone, but those who are lost, broke, or hopeless will have someone, something, some film saying ‘we haven’t forgotten about you.’ And don’t we owe that these people? Don’t we owe that to anyone who fought for this country?”
If you’d like to donate to the production or learn more about War At Home and the epidemic that is PTSD, please visit Michael Dunker and David Lawson’s Kickstarter page.