Tuesday, October 18, 2011

10/18/11: Two films tonight on Women & War

1. 7:15 PM,
Service: When Women Come Marching Home,
Rosendale Theater, 408 Main Street, Rosendale, $6 (more info below).

2. 10 PM, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Episode 2 of 5 of the Women, War, and Peace series on PBS, featuring Nobel Peace laureate Leymah Gbowee. Plans are afoot to watch this series together on DVD, on some evenings in the near future - watch this space.

More on Service:

Please join us tonight at 7:15 in honoring our women veterans when the Rosendale Theatre premieres the powerful documentary Service: When Women Come Marching Home by filmmakers Marcia Rock and Patricia Lee Stotter. There will be a Q&A with the filmmakers and women veterans after the film.

Service portrays the courage of the women in service and after leaving the military. The film shows the traumas they face and the inadequate care they often receive on return. Women compose 14% of today's military forces. That number is expected to double in the next 10 years. [ed. Let's reverse this trend!] This important film poignantly portrays the first wave of mothers, daughters and sisters returning home.

These women wrestle with prosthetics, homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and what is termed military sexual trauma. The documentary establishes intimacy with the veterans by speaking with them in their kitchens and bathrooms, back yards, classrooms, therapy sessions and supermarkets.

Some of the women portrayed include:

Sue Downes enlisted in the army as an MP. In 2005, her humvee hit 3 landmines. She was the only one of three soldiers to survive, but barely. She is the first female double amputee from Afghanistan. It took her two years to learn how to walk with prostheses and has taken much longer to manage the psychological problems incurred by the loss of two fellow soldiers. When she received her service dog Lyla, her life changed. She regained her independence. The dog provides not only help with her physical disability but provides emotional calm for her PTSD.

Lashonna Perry, a vet who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lashonna expected a warm welcome from her family, but found a family unable to deal with her erratic behavior and she ended up homeless. It was only when she went to the VA because of a panic attack, that she learned she had PTSD. They also gave her a referral to a non-profit, The Jericho Project, that finds housing for homeless women veterans. The film follows Lashonna as she moves into her new apartment.

Mariette Kalinowski was a marine gunner in Iraq. When she returned home she was plagued with symptoms such as hyper-vigilance, fear of crowds, depression and flashbacks. Mariette saw college as a way to transition back to civilian life. She also received counseling through a special program offered by Hunter College in NYC. She is an aspiring writer and the film captures her working on a story about PTSD.

About The Filmmakers

Marcia Rock is an independent filmmaker who has produced many documentaries on women's issues. Rock is director of News and Documentary at the NYU Arthur Carter Journalism Institute and co-author with Marlene Sanders of, Waiting for Prime Time: The Women of Television News.

Patricia Lee Stotter is an Emmy Awarding winning composer and writer for television, film, theater and interactive media. She has worked on everything from Sesame Street to HBO/PBS documentaries, independent features to plays and musicals, Patricia was honored to work with the P.R.O.V.E (Project for Return and Opportunity in Veteran Education) program, CUNY, Hunter Campus. Patricia is a member of The Dramatist's Guild and ASCAP.

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