ABOUT THE STORY
The idea to produce a film about Post-traumatic Stress came about many years ago due to having a family member and a few friends with this condition. After researching for many months I learned that there were veterans and active service members who didn’t understand PTS and that there was definitely an overall lack of awareness by the general public. In addition, there were service members who had PTS but would not disclose it in fear of jeopardizing advancement or being labeled weak. Fortunately, today’s military aggressive education programs have improved awareness and support for our warriors. More needs to be done, but the military is light-years from just five and ten years ago.
After a tremendous amount of research the idea that a story about Post-traumatic Stress could educate the public while supporting veterans and service members emerged. However, the idea was slow to move. As we entered Iraq and Afghanistan the thought was to see how these wars would unfold and affect our troops. It didn’t take long for the warnings to be issued about Post-traumatic Stress. In December of 2004 came the following two quotes in the New York Times:
“There’s a train coming that is packed with people that are going to need help for the next 35 years.”Stephen L. Robinson, a 20-year Army veteran and executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center. New York Times, 12/16/04
“I have a very strong sense that the mental health consequences are going to be the medical story of this war.”Dr. Stephen C. Joseph, past assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. New York Times, 12/16/04
I’ve collected many quotes and stories over the years from various newspapers and journals and I know there are many more. Mine began in 2004 and continue to today.
With so much written about PTS it is clear that this country faces many years of a host of issues related to it. Therefore, the more who are familiar with this condition benefits our society and veterans. Since government funding will be necessary for many veterans long after Iraq and Afghanistan, an educated, supportive public will be critical. The intent is for this film to help serve that purpose.
As stated in the opening paragraph, “Elephant Grass is a serious story presented in an entertaining and humorous way”. It also says, “meant to be funny, but above all to show a humanistic perspective of Post-traumatic Stress.” Occasionally, the question arises, “What do you think is funny about Post-traumatic Stress?” “What is funny about what so many have to deal with?”
From the beginning I knew I had to derive a way to tell this story that would interest the general public. After all, everyone has problems and most don’t want to sit through two hours of someone else’s misery. If it were just a serious movie about Post-traumatic Stress it would be too dark; it would become a documentary that very few would see. Thus, humor.
By adding humor it allowed for the story to be told in an interesting way. With a subject like this when someone is sitting in a theater for two hours you want to touch all their emotions. You want them to be entertained, to laugh, to cry and you want them to be shaken. If we accomplish that then we have delivered the message.
I will close on one important point. This film is not an anti-war or pro-war film, does not criticize the military or the government nor has any underlying messages. This story is about those men and women suffering with Post-traumatic Stress and their families who suffer with them.
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