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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Afghan & Iraq Vets Still Suffer In Silence From PTSD: "Happy New Year" Film Provides Insight

"The War Does NOT End When We Say Its Over. For Many The War Just Begins. To All The Veterans. Thank You For Your Service."
Patrick Kennedy

Via a Mandatory Draft I want EVERY Federal Gov't Official including Congress Members & Pentagon Officials, to immediately allow their Adult Sons & Daughters to fight in the Afghan War to help Defend Karzai's (Afghan President) Corrupt Government, then tell me its Wise Foreign Policy” for U.S. Troops to remain in that region of the world.

War Is Hell!

God Bless Our Men & Women Who Serve This Country Via the U.S. Military!

The movie ‘Happy New Year’ depicts how war vets deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

For many, the issue of post traumatic stress disorder among war veterans is an uncomfortable one, even taboo. But that hasn’t stopped writer/director K. Lorrel Manning from tackling its complexities in the movie, Happy New Year.

“A lot of men and women are suffering in silence,” said Manning. “It takes tragedies like what happened in Afghanistan for people to start talking about it.”

Indeed, the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians allegedly at the hands of a U.S. soldier is forcing a public dialogue. Manning is hoping his movie can keep the momentum going.

The Directors Guild of America in Manhattan is hosting a special benefit screening of Happy New Year Thursday. Proceeds will fund a PTSD facility in Israel.

The movie, filmed at the Bronx Psychiatric Center, follows two friends who served together in Iraq who are reunited at a veterans’ facility on New Year’s Eve.

The idea came to Manning over time but started in 2004 when he read the book, “Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq.”

“I wasn’t really following the war effort at that point but I couldn’t put this book down,” he said. “It changed my life.”

Later, while doing another project in Chicago, he met a police officer who was an Iraq war veteran, and their conversations lit a spark.

Manning wrote a one-act play and asked his friend Michael Cuomo to play the lead role.

That play evolved into a short film, then the opportunity came to make a feature-length film.

Neither Manning nor Cuomo have served in the military. To tell the story accurately, they spent nine months interviewing 80 veterans from various wars.

To prepare for his role as Staff Sgt. Cole Lewis, Cuomo spent four weeks in a simulated boot camp with a drill instructor and used a wheelchair for a month (his character is paralyzed from the waist down).

“I would wheel around the city at night, kind of incognito,” he said. “I wanted to feel what it was like to see the world from that position and feel how the world sees you.”

While the subject matter may be difficult, even off-putting for some, Cuomo believes there are people willing to put aside their personal politics and focus on the humanity in the story.

“The idea of thinking that your life is heading in a certain direction, then experiencing something catastrophic that changes your course, and how you deal with that, is a dynamic I think anyone can relate to,” he said.

Happy New Year has been well received at 16 film festivals nationwide, picking up some notable endorsements along the way.

Among its fans is retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs, who received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism in Vietnam.

“I’m a career soldier so I’m invariably not happy with war movies,” he said. “(But) I was absolutely enraptured by Happy New Year because the characters seemed so real. I knew all of them.

“It’s a really moving piece,” Jacobs continued. “It’s hard to say you enjoyed something that actually causes you a little bit of pain, but I absolutely enjoyed it.”

For more information about the Happy New Year screening, call (212) 586-4034.

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Sources: AP, NY Daily News, Russia Today, Wikipedia, Youtube, Google Maps

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