Helping Veterans Heal Mental Illness through Photography

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Sonya Grigoruk, SG Public Relations
T: 213-810-1016, sonyagrpr@gmail.com
 

Helping Veterans Heal Mental Illness through Photography
New Film “Visions of Warriors” Follows The Veteran Photo
Recovery Project,
an Alternative Therapy Program at
Veterans Affairs Menlo Park

LOS ANGELES, November 11, 2017—The Veteran Photo Recovery Project (VPRP), an innovative art therapy program at the Veterans Affairs Menlo Park, utilizes photography to help veterans suffering from moral injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, and other mental illnesses by giving them a visual language and the tools to express themselves, an important step towards healing.

The project is documented in “Visions of Warriors,” a powerful new film released today from Los Angeles filmmaker Ming Lai. Ming spent three years following the efforts of Susan Quaglietti, an experienced nurse practitioner who founded the program, and documents her work with veterans including Mark Pinto, a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot during the Gulf War who became a Buddhist priest and then an artist.

“In 2018, the U.S. will be looking at the 17th year of war in Afghanistan with no end in sight,” said Lai. “The untold cost is the many veterans who return home suffering from mental illness, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), military sexual trauma (MST), and moral injury.”

During the Vietnam War, at least 18.7% of veterans developed PTSD (Dohrenwend et al., 2006). And during the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, data suggests that 36.9% of veterans were diagnosed with a mental illness—21.8% with PTSD and 17.4% with depression (Seal et al., 2009). Approximately 22 veterans commit suicide each day.

Approximately one-half of the veterans who receive traditional evidence-based therapy still experience symptoms of mental illness. As result, many alternative therapies are being explored, including art therapy. 

“Using art such as photography is visually based and it can assist with expressing suppressed feelings associated with problems such as PTSD and MST,” said Quaglietti. “This type of therapeutic intervention can be highly beneficial for some veterans and some even believe that participating in this process may have saved their life.”

The VPRP supplements traditional therapy, helping veterans learn how to relax their body, focus their mind, be in the moment, appreciate beauty, capture their subject, and affirm life, using this process to express their feelings, tell their stories, and assist their recovery.

The film will be released on Veterans Day, and will be available through Amazon Video Direct, Apple iTunes, Google Play, Vimeo on Demand, and online at www.visionsofwarriors.com/store. The film received a generous grant from the Stanford Medicine & the Muse Program, premiered at the prestigious Vail Film Festival, and was selected for an Honorable Mention at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2017 Voice Awards. To watch the trailer and learn more about Visions of Warriors including screenings in Palo Alto and other locations, please visit www.visionsofwarriors.com.

About Humanist Films
Humanist Films, LLC is a film and photography production company, based in Los Angeles. Founded by filmmaker and photographer Ming Lai, Humanist Films is less of a traditional production company than an innovative think tank, gathering the brightest minds to research, plan, create, and change. Our interdisciplinary work ranges from narrative and documentary films to commercials and corporate videos to fine art and documentary photography projects. The name of our company honors legendary director, Akira Kurosawa, who was praised for his humanist compassion and inspired us to become filmmakers. www.humanistfilms.com

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References:
Dohrenwend, B. P., Turner, J. B., Turse, N. A., Adams, B. G., Koenen, K. C., & Marshall, R. (2006). The psychological risks of Vietnam for US veterans: a revisit with new data and methods. Science, 313(5789), 979-982. doi: 10.1126/science.1128944

Seal, K. H., Thomas, J., Gima, K. S., Bertenthal, D., Maguen, S., & Marmar, C. R. (2009). Trends and risk factors for mental health diagnoses among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans using Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care. American Journal of Public Health. 99(9), 1651-1658. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.150284

Toomey, R., Kang, H. K., Karlinsky, J., Baker, D. G., Vasterling, J. J., Alpern, R., ... & Eisen, S. A. (2007). Mental health of US Gulf War veterans 10 years after the war. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 190(5), 385-393. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.105.019539

“VISIONS OF WARRIORS” TO SCREEN AT THE COLORADO PSYCHIATRIC REHABILITATION ASSOCIATION (COPRA)

We’re pleased to announce that the Colorado Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (COPRA) will be hosting a screening of “Visions of Warriors” in Denver, Colorado as part of their recruitment event. We had the huge honor of screening our film at the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association’s 40th Annual Wellness & Recovery Summit. Now we have the privilege of showing it at the Colorado chapter of the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (PRA). According to their website, “PRA is the premier source of learning, knowledge and research for the psychiatric rehabilitation profession.” According to the Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being—Mental Health Center of Denver’s site, they “provide a place for community members to connect with their neighbors, learn new skills and find supports they need to increase their health and well-being.” We deeply appreciate the PRA’s continuing support of our film. Thank you to Raymond Sedillo, COPRA, PRA, and the Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being—Mental Health Center of Denver for organizing this screening. 

Screening: 
Thursday, 11/9/17, 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being—Mental Health Center of Denver
3401 Eudora St.
Denver, CO 80207

To learn more about the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association:
https://www.psychrehabassociation.org/

To learn more about the Colorado Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (COPRA)
https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoPRA/

To learn more about the Dahlia Campus for Health & Well-Being—Mental Health Center of Denver:
https://mhcd.org/dahlia-campus-for-health-well-being/

“VISIONS OF WARRIORS” TO SCREEN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS, MINNESOTA

We’re excited to announce another screening of “Visions of Warriors” in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The University of St. Thomas, Minnesota/Area of Emphasis in Military Practice (AEMP) Scholars will be hosting a public screening of our feature documentary. According to their website, “Founded in 1885, the University of St. Thomas is a Catholic university based in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The largest private university in Minnesota, St. Thomas offers bachelor’s degrees in over 85 major fields of study and more than 45 graduate degree programs including master’s, education specialist, juris doctor and doctorates.” The University of St. Thomas offers a unique AEMP Scholars program, which brings together military social work students, faculty, and community members that includes courses, course assignments and events specific to military service members, veterans, and their families. Susan Quaglietti, a nurse practitioner and founder of the Veteran Photo Recovery Project, and Ryan Gardner, a clinical social worker who runs the program with her, will be attending the screening and participating in a Q&A afterward. Thank you to Lisa Thomas, the AEMP Scholars, and the university for hosting this great screening and our friend, Dr. Will Wong, for his generous support. 

Screening and Q&A with Susan Quaglietti and Ryan Gardner: 
Friday, 10/20/17, 5:45 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
John Roach Center (JRC) for the Liberal Arts, Room 126
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, Minnesota 55105

651-962-5000

To reserve tickets for the screening:
https://www.stthomas.edu/socialwork/events/events/20171020aempvisionsofwarriors.html

To learn more about the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota:
http://www.stthomas.edu/

To learn more about the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota Area of Emphasis in Military Practice (AEMP) Scholars program:
https://www.stthomas.edu/socialwork/graduate/financing/aescholars/military/

“VISIONS OF WARRIORS” TO SCREEN AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA SCHOOL OF NURSING

We’re thrilled to announce that the University of Minnesota School of Nursing in Minneapolis, Minnesota will be doing a private screening of “Visions of Warriors.” We’re honored to be able to share our film with their respected nursing program. According to their website, the “School of Nursing is ranked #13 out of more than 200 nursing graduate schools in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report. Also, “the school celebrated 100 years of leading nursing and health innovation in 2009.” One of the subjects of our feature documentary is Susan Quaglietti, a nurse practitioner and founder of the Veteran Photo Recovery Project. She’s been caring for veterans for more than 25 years. Susan will be attending the screening and participating in a Q&A, along with clinical social worker Ryan Gardner, who runs the program with her. Thank you to Elaine Darst, Clinical Associate Professor and Co-Director BSN Program, School of Nursing, and the university for hosting this great event. 

Screening and Q&A with Susan Quaglietti and Ryan Gardner:
Friday, 10/20/17, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
University of Minnesota School of Nursing
5-140 Weaver-Densford Hall
308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

*This is a private screening for the university and not open to the public. 

To learn more about University of Minnesota School of Nursing:
https://www.nursing.umn.edu/

“VISIONS OF WARRIORS” FEATURE DOCUMENTARY TO BE RELEASED ON VETERANS DAY (11/11/17)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:
Ming Lai: 626-372-1301, shoot[at]humanistfilms[dot]com
 

Los Angeles, CA. August 11, 2017—“Visions of Warriors," a feature documentary about veterans who use photography therapy to treat their mental illness, directed by Ming Lai, will be released on Veterans Day (11/11/17).

Humanist Films will be self-distributing the film digitally through Amazon Video on Demand, Apple iTunes, Google Play, and other online retailers as well as on their website: visionsofwarriors.com/store

In “Visions of Warriors,” four veterans from the Vietnam War era to the Iraq War participate in the groundbreaking Veteran Photo Recovery Project at the VA Menlo Park and use innovative photography therapy to treat their mental illness. 

The film features veterans Mark Pinto, Homerina “Marina” Bond, Ari Sonnenberg, and Priscilla “Peni” Bethel. 

The film also profiles the Veteran Photo Recovery Project team—founder and nurse practitioner Susan Quaglietti, art therapist Jeff Stadler, clinical social worker Ryan Gardner, and clinical psychologist Kristen McDonald. 

In addition, the film introduces other dynamic veterans who participated in the program.

The film received a generous grant from the Stanford Medicine & the Muse Program, premiered at the prestigious Vail Film Festival, and has been nominated for a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 2017 Voice Award. 

Since its premiere, the film has been screening at film festivals, conferences, universities, and special events. 

Ming Lai, the producer/writer/director of “Visions of Warriors,” relates, “After learning about Susan Quaglietti and the Veteran Photo Recovery Project, we were inspired to create a feature documentary about her compassionate work. We were deeply moved by the veterans’ powerful stories.”

He acknowledges, “Our film wouldn’t have been possible without all the extraordinary veterans and mental health providers in the film, our talented crew and post-production team, and our generous grantors, sponsors, donors, and supporters. Hopefully, our film raises awareness about the rise of veteran mental illness and the power of innovative photography therapy to treat it.”

To learn more about Visions of Warriors: 
visionsofwarriors.com

To obtain an Electronic Press Kit: 
visionsofwarriors.com/electronic-press-kit


ABOUT HUMANIST FILMS, LLC & MING LAI:
Humanist Films, LLC is a film and photography production company, based in Los Angeles. Founded by filmmaker and photographer Ming Lai, Humanist Films is less of a traditional production company than an innovative think tank, gathering the brightest minds to research, plan, create, and change. Our interdisciplinary work ranges from narrative and documentary films to commercials and corporate videos to fine art and documentary photography projects. The name of our company honors legendary director, Akira Kurosawa, who was praised for his humanist compassion and inspired us to become filmmakers. 

To learn more about Humanist Films:
humanistfilms.com

“VISIONS OF WARRIORS” INTERVIEWED BY TV8 ABOUT ITS VAIL FILM FESTIVAL WORLD PREMIERE

We had the honor of being interviewed by Mark Sassi of Vail’s TV8 about our world premiere at the Vail Film Festival. Thank you to Mark and his team for helping us to raise awareness about the rise of veteran mental illness and the power of innovative photography therapy to treat it. Thank you as well to the Megen Musegades, Krista Ammirato, and the Vail Film Festival for setting up this interview.

Watch the interview:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMvndz3lAQE&feature=youtu.be

To learn more: 
http://www.vailfilmfestival.com/documentaries-1/

"VISIONS OF WARRIORS" TO SCREEN AT THE OAKLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

We're excited to announce that our feature documentary "Visions of Warriors" will be screening at the Oakland International Film Festival (4/4/17 - 4/8/17) in Oakland, California. The festival showcases films made in Oakland and the surrounding Bay Area. We're honored to be a part of this growing festival that features regional films. We hope that through our documentary, we can serve this diverse and vibrant community, especially the veterans.

Screening and Q&A with Susan Quaglietti, Ryan Gardner, & Ming Lai:
Wednesday, 4/5/17, 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
VENUE CORRECTION:
Holy Names University / Valley Center for the Performing Arts
3500 Mountain Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94619

To learn more: 
http://www.oiff.org

For tickets:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/oiff-15-early-bird-visions-of-warriors-tickets-32075141612   

"VISIONS OF WARRIORS" TO CELEBRATE ITS WORLD PREMIERE AT THE VAIL FILM FESTIVAL

We're excited to announce that our feature documentary "Visions of Warriors" will be celebrating its world premiere at the Vail Film Festival (3/30/17 - 4/2/17) in Vail, Colorado! The festival has been recognized as "One of the Top 10 Destination Film Festivals in the World" by MovieMaker Magazine. We're deeply honored to have our film selected by this prestigious film festival. We hope that through this premiere, we can raise awareness about the rise of veteran mental illness and the power of innovative photography therapy to treat it. Thank you to all our veterans, mental health providers, crew, grantors, sponsors, donors, and supporters!

Screening and Q&A with Susan Quaglietti, Ryan Gardner, & Ming Lai:
Friday, 3/31/17, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
CineBistro 2 at Solaris
141 E. Meadow Dr., #104, Vail, CO 81657

970-476-3344
Theater Info: 
https://cinebistro.com/solaris/index.php

Screening and Q&A with Susan Quaglietti, Ryan Gardner, & Ming Lai:
Saturday, 4/1/17, 8:15 p.m. - 9:45 p.m.
CineBistro 1 at Solaris
141 E. Meadow Dr., #104, Vail, CO 81657

970-476-3344
Theater Info: 
https://cinebistro.com/solaris/index.php

To learn more: 
http://www.vailfilmfestival.com/documentaries-1/
https://vailfilmfestival2017.sched.com

For tickets: 
http://www.vailfilmfestival.com/2017-tickets