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Veterans Journey Home: Leaving it on the Land

Frederick Marx
United States, 2022, 80 min.

In English.
Includes adult language.

AIFF Award Winner:
Best Documentary

The story of transformation for a cohort of 12 Veterans who struggle with suicidal ideation as they do an ancient 12-day fasting ceremony in the Coulee desert region of Washington. Alone for four days and four nights with no contact with the outside world and minimal shelter, our four key subjects record private observations and reflections on GoPro cameras. Their journey, rigorous and challenging, leads them to a clearer sense of who they are and where they belong in the world as civilians.

Director's Statement

The biggest shooting challenge was how to allow the Veterans their sacred alone time during the four-day solo fast. Eventually we settled on a plan to provide them with Go Pro cameras, selfie sticks, and microphones. We gave them very little instruction aside from the technical. I was mostly concerned that they record good sound. I threw out a few basic content ideas: video journaling, documenting their surroundings, capturing walkabouts. But I made it clear it was totally up to them what they recorded. I said, “Be free. Be creative. Have fun.” I thought it was beautiful how each of them did very different things with the camera reflecting their own unique personalities.

Category: Documentary.

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