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News Iraq Vet Tackles PTSD With Bold New Film

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There is something important happening in California next week. No, it is not the release of Paris Hilton's new album. Homecoming, the first film by SAND STORM PRODUCTIONS' Veteran Films Project, will make its first public screening this Tuesday in Santa Monica, CA. Now, I know what you're thinking, another Hollywood filmmaker trying to make a war film.

In most cases that's what my thoughts would be too. But the filmmaker, Sean Huze, was formerly Corporal Sean Huze of the U.S. Marine Corps and served a tour of duty on the ground in Iraq during the invasion. He's been there. And that gives him a unique perspective out there in LA-LA Land.

His film addresses the war at home. What many civilians don't understand is that for many veterans physically returning to the states is only the beginning of marking the return from war. I wrote about how hard coming home was for me in Chasing Ghosts. According to a recent Defense Department study of combat troops returning from Iraq, 1 in 6 soldiers and Marines acknowledged symptoms of severe depression and PTSD. The same study found that 6 in 10 of these same veterans were unlikely to seek help. Drug and alcohol abuse is on the rise. And some veterans have taken even more extreme measures. The suicide rate for the Army and Marine Corps since the beginning of the Iraq War has increased by nearly a third. The Hartford Courant recently did an excellent investigative series on the subject of mental health issues within the military.

Homecoming makes a strong statement about all of this by focusing on a returning veteran and his family. The main character, Staff Sergeant Shane Kennedy, returns to a loving wife and infant daughter. But like so many combat veterans, he's wrestling with the demons that won't stay buried back in the sand box thousands of miles away. Since the DOD is relying on the troops to diagnose themselves, Shane falls through the cracks and finds he and his family are ill equipped to make the transition home successful.

Sean Huze makes a powerful and truthful statement with this film. His next move is to submit it to the selection committee for Sundance 2007. It's a film that should be seen. For more information on the Veteran Films Project check out: [DLMURL]http://www.veteranfilms.com[/DLMURL] and find out how you can get involved.

Source: The Huffington Post
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