Documentary Bravely Tackles Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Wounded Soldier Issues

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Post traumatic stress disorder and other issues involving disabled American veterans have become the focus of a new film entitled, "Who Will Stand." There are many films about the war in Iraq, but a small team of Las Vegas filmmakers decided that the soldiers would be better served by addressing the issues they deal with after they return home.

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The funny thing is that everyone in the military thinks that everyone knows what they’re going through but the truth is we don’t.

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More American soldiers kill themselves than are killed by the enemy, and many others suffer the effects of post traumatic stress disorder. As many as eighteen soldiers a day are committing suicide and most of those soldiers kill themselves after they return home. Their divorce rate has tripled since the beginning of the war and substance abuse among veterans is 4 times the national average. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg according to “Who Will Stand” producer/director Phil Valentine,

The two hour documentary covers, in detail, the plights of more than a dozen soldiers who have returned either physically or psychologically wounded, including hard-to-measure effects of post traumatic stress disorder.

“Nobody is surprised that war creates amputees, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, divorce, but very few people are aware of the enormous rates of these issues,” said Valentine. “And almost no one is aware of the psychological issues that nearly 100% of combat soldiers suffer with, namely Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.”

Now most films cover the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and take sides on whether we should have gone in there, whether we should still be there, when we should leave. “Who Will Stand” covers none of these issues. Instead it focuses on the plight of returning disabled American veterans.

“Going back and forth on whether or not we should be in this war is like arguing over whether the Giants should have won the last Superbowl. What’s done is done. We’re there,” explains Valentine. Then he adds, “What we can and should do something about is how we take care of these disabled American veterans after they return.”

Phil Valentine and Director of Photography Michael Bedik began in September, 2007 travelling anywhere they could to find soldiers who were in trouble and were willing to talk. “We were first hired to do a documentary on amputees returning from the war. But shortly into our research we found that the problem was much bigger than even we thought,” Bedik said. “The funny thing is that everyone in the military thinks that everyone knows what they’re going through but the truth is we don’t.”

A few months into filming Valentine and Bedik went back to Executive Producer Gerald Gillock, a Las Vegas Attorney, and told him that the only way we could do this story justice was to only interview soldiers, disabled American veterans, families of soldiers and the doctors who take care of them. Gillock told them to do whatever they had to do to find the truth.

Valentine notes, “We discovered that the biggest problem was a soldier’s willingness to seek help for psychological issues. Amputations can be fixed with prosthetics but mental problems lead to a myriad of other, more severe, issues like unemployment, homelessness, divorce, substance abuse, child and spousal abuse and suicide.”

The film also addresses why the military and the VA is not doing enough to combat these problems. “Look, we’re not out to bash the military or the VA,” Bedik says, “We ourselves are patriotic individuals. But being patriotic doesn’t mean turning your back on an issue because you don’t want anyone to know that the U.S. military is hurting. It means just the opposite. It means we care about those who risk their lives to protect us and we will do what we have to in order to protect them.”

“Who Will Stand” not only addresses the problem of our disabled American veterans and post traumatic stress disorder but also uncovered solutions to the problem.

“We found organizations that will help these guys at no cost and without the red tape and bureaucracy they often experience with the VA,” explained Valentine. “We also found out that the VA thinks they can’t afford to help 100% of soldiers suffering from PTSD but we proved that treating them is actually cheaper than not treating them! Treatment would pay for itself in two years.”

The Dish Network has shown interest in the film for its new Documentary Channel but Executive Producer, Gerald Gillock and the filmmakers Phil Valentine and Michael Bedik may go the traditional Film Festival route. As attorney Gerald Gillock stated, “The jury is still out on that one!”
Contact Phil Valentine is a film maker and screenwriter. His credits are listed on

Phil Valentine, Producer
Red Live Productions


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