In June I had the privilege of being an instructor for the Patton Veterans Project’s I Was There Film Workshop being held at George Washington University in Washington, DC. At the workshop we helped a group of 15 veterans to conceive, shoot, and edit a collaborative short film in just 4 days. It was a lot of fun to work with them and I’m very impressed with what they were all able to accomplish in the short time we had together. Six films came out of that week and I think they’re all fantastic.
The purpose of the workshops is to give Veterans with Post Traumatic Stress or Traumatic Brain Injuries a creative way to express what they’re going through. Sort of art therapy with film. It’s very open-ended, which brings some very interesting results. As an instructor it was my job to just be there to lend a hand. Whether it came to help developing story, shooting, or editing, our jobs as instructors was to help them get from idea to final product in the brief time we had. Sometimes that meant we were more hands on and sometimes that meant we were just sitting back and answering questions.
I originally heard about the workshops last fall while filming interviews for my New York Filmmakers web series with Katie Carman-Lehach and Christina Raia, both of whom participate in the workshops as instructors. I was interested in the workshops when I first heard about them from Katie and Christina and was very excited to get to participate last month. I’m looking forward to being able to participate again in the future.