From my www.MrsLieutenant.blogpost.com July 8, 2010, post “Introducing the New Movie THE DRY LAND: A Compelling Story of One Soldier’s Return Home”:
Writer/director Ryan Piers Williams and the actors, starting with the central character played by Ryan O’Nan, and including everyone involved in the film have created an incredibly compelling story of a soldier’s return from Iraq to the “peace” of West Texas.
The film focuses on the impact of undiagnosed PTSD on the soldier, his wife and his community although the words Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are never uttered in the film.
What’s so amazing about this film is that the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense gave support for the film. In fact, here’s a quote from the press notes from U.S. Army entertainment industry liaison Lt. Colonel Gregory W. Bishop:
The biggest barrier to a soldier getting help is the perceived stigma … we want troops to know it’s okay to seek help for any challenges they may face, especially PTSD. It’s critical that we lead by example, and as an institution, that we’re encouraging opening dialogue on PTSD and mental health. I’m proud of our participation in this film. It’s an honest, open exploration of a struggle that many of our troops go through. I think it will help soldiers.
For this post I want to end by quoting film writer/director Ryan Piers Williams from the press notes:
The most important feeling I want the audience to leave with is hope. This film explores many of the dark aspects of coming home from war, but the message I want to leave people with is that there is hope for a life after the war.
The film’s end credits include this message:
If you, or someone you know, is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), help is available:
From my follow-up July 8, 2010, post on www.MrsLieutenant.blogspot.com:
As I wrote in my previous blog post about the new movie THE DRY LAND I thought the movie a very compelling story of one soldier’s return home.
I actually got a very interesting question on Twitter from @FreeRangeMom (Peggy Dolane):
@ZimblerMiller Do you think #thedryland would be of interest to currently enlisted personnel? Or is it too close to home?
And here is what I replied in the limitation of characters on Twitter:
@FreeRangeMom Important for current enlisted personnel & officers to see #thedryland to know they are not “crazy” – it’s a medical condition
Now I want to share with you part of an email I sent THE DRY LAND’s writer/director Ryan Piers Williams after attending the press screening of the film:
I have only one comment. Although I know that end credits are usually contractual, is there any way the important info about getting help for PTSD can be before the end credits? I’m concerned that many people don’t stay for the credits and that message is so very, very important.
Ryan’s reply to me was so sensitive to the emotions of people that I asked his permission to share that response here:
The decision to put the PTSD message where it is was a very important one. I found, through many test audiences, that people needed the time between the end of picture to the PTSD message to settle their emotions.
I timed out the message to come when I felt the audience would be ready for it. It was a creative decision. We tried to place it after the picture ended and it felt wrong. It was a tough decision, but one I had to make.
There was not one actor that wasn’t willing to sign a waiver to have the message above their names. That was not the issue. The decision was made by me in considering the emotional state the audience should be in by the end of the film and when they might be ready to read the message.