PTSD Documentary Brings Awareness And Healing Through Filmmaker’s Own Trauma

Indiana film director Luke Renner found himself struggling with the triggers, depression and isolation of psychological trauma after experiencing the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Through a friend’s suggestion he decided to use his own art of film making to find healing for himself and those like him who suffer from the effects of trauma.

June is National PTSD Awareness month, and Hoosier film director Luke Renner has launched a Kickstarter funding campaign for a documentary film that explores psychological trauma’s causes, crippling effects and pathways to understanding and hope.

“Surviving Trauma”—the film’s working title—is the result of Renner’s own struggle after surviving the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

“I was unprepared for what I experienced after the earthquake in Haiti,” said Renner. “I had no training for that sort of thing, and I struggled in silence for years. Then a friend and fellow trauma survivor challenged me to do something productive with the pain. My hope became this film, and along the way I’ve learned that people are affected by trauma in many different ways. There’s no doubt that it’s time to tell this story.”

“Surviving Trauma” began production in April. The film is being produced by The Story Shop, a production company that Renner co-founded with David Neidert three years ago.

The Kickstarter campaign was launched on June 2, and more than $5,000 was pledged in the first week.

“Reaching $5,000 in the first week is a fantastic milestone,” said Neidert, who is serving as director of photography for the film. “Our initial Kickstarter goal is $25,000, and of course that’s just a small part of what it will eventually take to complete the film. However, the $25,000 amount is critical to keeping the project on track.”

Crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter have become an important way of launching creative projects. Project creators establish a funding goal and deadline. Supporters then make a pledge by providing credit-card information, and the credit card is charged only if the overall fundraising goal is met. If the project fails to reach its goal, the pledges are canceled and the supporters are not charged.

Renner said he’s counting on the support of fellow trauma survivors to help shape the film. “By telling this story from a survivor’s point of view, but with perspectives on healing from the top minds in the field of recovery, I believe that the resulting film will be a useful tool for professionals and patients alike,” he said. “This isn’t just my story. It belongs to all of us.”

In addition to compelling survivor stories from a number of psychological trauma types, “Surviving Trauma” will feature interviews with mental-health experts. Among them are Dr. Peter A. Levine, Ph.D., Vincent J. Felitti, M.D., and Dr. Daniel J. Siegel.

About trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Since 2010, June has been National PTSD Awareness Month. Its observance is meant to raise awareness of PTSD and effective treatments.

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