Recently, the Military Times wrote about The GI Film Festival that hosted two films in Fairfax, Virginia, on Memorial Day weekend. The two films honored those who have died from self-inflicted wounds or whose lives are at risk because of Post-Traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The films from last Saturday were inspired by the high suicide rate among veterans, with roughly 22 returning veterans taking their own lives each day, according to a February 2013 Veterans Affairs Department report.
The first movie, titled SAM, was an artistic film that looks at veteran suicide through the life of a young man returning from service in Afghanistan to find nothing has changed except himself, writes The Military Times.
The film is based on a short story by Juan Garcia and directed by Alexis Garcia Rocca, and seeks to raise awareness about the debilitating and sometimes deadly effects of PTSD.
“It was to put a face to the statistic, because a lot of people don’t have a military connection,” Garcia Rocca said. “I come from a military family, and that’s what brought me to the issue, and this was kind of made for everyone else — to be made aware that this exists.”
The second film was Project 22, which follows two wounded veterans – Scott Hansen and Doc King – on a 6,500-mile motorcycle ride to raise awareness about veteran suicide.
They reveal their own story of struggle and recovery as they meet with advocates, program directors and researchers along the way. Many veterans they speak to open up about their struggles and the painful reality of life with PTSD and even suicide attempts.
“I always feel like I gave a piece of my soul – that’s one way to put it. You come home different – mentally, physically, yeah – but I felt like I left part of my soul in Iraq,” says Ahmed Uddin, one of the veterans interviewed in the documentary.
“This country is absolutely not doing enough for these guys when they come back,” said audience member Beaux Watson, according to The Military Times.