Today, we honor the sacrifices of the men and women who have served in uniform. Traditionally, we remember those who died in combat, but it is equally if not more important to remember those who still live but for whom the fight is not over. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted in record-breaking statistics for post-service traumas. According to this story in the NY Times, there are 25 veteran suicides for every one soldier killed in the field. Additionally, the rates of divorce, PTSD, substance abuse, and homelessness are off the charts. The good news is that there seems to be enough awareness about these issues, at least among professionals, that the VA and other organizations are responding to these problems rather than sweeping them under the rug. Still, it is ultimately the majority of civilians who must pay attention, if we are to avoid repeating mistakes in the future.
What motivated me to make gone Elvis was a frustration with the contrast between how complexly costly these wars have been and how over-easily they were sold to the American people. Particularly with the invasion of Iraq, I don’t believe many civilians, from the safety of their unaffected lives, really considered the potential cost in its many forms. During the early days of the invasion, I wrote an article questioning whether or not Americans might be shocked if service-memeber death toll were to reach 10,000; and at the time, even I didn’t think the number would go that high. But if we combine service deaths with post-service suicides (at an estimated rate of 1 every 80 minutes), the number is almost double that and still counting. Of course, the total cost of war — civilian lives, diplomatic instability, dollars, opportunity costs, domestic social trauma — will have lasting effects long after the dead have been buried and saluted. This is why their sacrifice can only be honored, I believe, if we can learn that there is, and never has been, anything simple about a war.
- David Newhoff -
GONE ELVIS is a no holds barred witness to the external and internal events of one day in the life of a female homeless veteran. This film, like the post-service life of many military veterans, poses no landscape of fruitful plain and offers no forest of resolution – absent the thoughts and longings for action-to-change the film evokes in its viewers. (read more)
To read more by Katherine Bennett, click here.
This is our new RQ Code that enables smart phones and other IR readers to link directly to the website. It even works in camo colors!
Anyone in the Hudson Valley with time, energy, or dollars to spare this holiday season might want to take a look at this brand new venture to turn a family farm into a housing and therapeutic option for homeless veterans in our region. I had the pleasure of meeting these folks at our screening in Chatham and hope to see the 1886 Welcome Home Farm become a great resource for local veterans in need.
Please visit 1886 Welcome Home Farm
In the midst of the debate over bills intended to preserve jobs in the creative sector, like the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act, it is easy to focus purely on the economic contributions and significance of the creative community. But that misses the bigger picture.
To read the whole blog, click here.
In honor of Veterans Day weekend, gone Elvis will screen at the Crandell theatre for an invited audience of veterans, their friends and family, and non-veterans. The film will be followed by a discussion led by David Newhoff and Gary Flaherty, Director of Veterans Services for Columbia County.
On 11.11.11, David Newhoff had the pleasure of meeting Airforce SSgt (R) Alicia Watkins, who was originally profiled on the Oprah show when she was homeless and living in rental cars. These were some of the first stories we saw that brought the issue to our attention. It was an honor to meet Alicia and to march with the Wounded Warrior Project in the Veterans Day parade.
For information about this organization, visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org
gone Elvis has been submitted to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Boston International Film Festival, the Crossroads Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, and the Seattle International Film Festival. We will update this page with festival news.
gone Elvis premiered on 10/23/11 at the Film Columbia Film Festival in Chatham, NY. We were pleased to have our festival debut in the same community where the film was shot. The film played in a program with two other shorts to an audience of about 100, and response seemed supportive and interested in the subject matter.