This week, Frame of Mind presents “A Soldier Home.”
Filmmaker Jay Nuzum says he wanted to “create [an] awareness about the high rate of suicides among soldiers returning home.” Nuzum explores the dark realities many military men and women face while at war and the difficulties they encounter when they try to resume their old way of life after returning home.
Nuzum follows Zach Fresquez, who served as a U.S. Marine in Iraq. Nuzum and Fresquez met in an acting class. In this non-traditional film, Nuzum combines both documentary and drama storytelling. Nuzum says the “re-enactments [in the film] also take a deeper look inside [Fresquez’s] head, into the darkness of his experience as a fresh way of looking at a soldier affected by the horrors of war.”
Nuzum believes “art and creativity seem to be an invaluable tool for helping many vets and others dealing with emotional trauma.” This film was a way to bring Fresquez’s journey to light and “be helpful for him, in a creative way, to confront the debilitating effects of PTSD,” says Nuzum.
Fresquez suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. He often experiences flashbacks of combat, difficulty assimilating to his original environment, and his struggles with personal relationships. Through improvisation and interviews, the audience sees Fresquez’s struggles as he deals with the violence of the battlefields that still haunt him and the society that is unaware of his past.
“I am doing everything I can just to feel normal again,” Fresquez says. He has found an escape through poetry. Writing has helped this former warrior get in touch with his deepest thoughts, and he frequently performs at improv shows. “I think Zach did a wonderful job,” says Nuzum, “not only telling his story but revealing his truth as an actor.”