In 2012, we were asked by the County of Kaua'i to make a documentary film about Veteran's returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our students began work on "Still Serving". Since this film was a documentary format, we changed our training profile and equipment needs, but continued to focus on professional narrative filmmaking.
Veterans returning to civilian life face many challenges. Returning veterans have to adapt to a completely different lifestyle than they had in Iraq or Afghanistan. They also come home to financial problems and possibly have to face large changes in their family life, such as divorce. Traumatic experiences that occurred during deployment may haunt the returning veterans and make civilian life hard to manage. Other problems returning veterans have faced are alcoholism, substance abuse, domestic violence, crime, and behavioral health disorders. Still Serving focuses on those issues as they affect Kauai veterans.
Still Serving took over a year to produce with filming scheduled around the availability of the interviewees, preproduction requirements for our students, and story development. The film we began to make changed as we interviewed more and more veterans. What began with a local message grew larger in scope and more national in message. The addition of US Rep Tulsi Gabbard strengthened and focused the narrative.
We premiered the film at the Performing Arts Center and Kauai Veterans Center where Rep Gabbard was in attendance.