I was fortunate enough to attend the first screening of The Blood Stripe (2016) on Sunday 6th of November at the Dole Cannery Regal Theatre. Hawaii International Film Festival in conjunction with the support of Hawaii Council for the Humanities organized a truly unique Q&A after the screening. The discussion panel was the director Remy Auberjonois, and three professional mental health therapist who shared firsthand experiences with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSDs) and how the effects of war impact the lives of returning soldiers.
The Blood Stripe (2016) is an American film directed by Remy Auberjonois. It tells the story of a female Sergeant that returns home from combat on her final tour. The films plot follows the ‘lioness’ (Kate Nowlin) while she struggles through her day-to-day activities as she is thrust back to her life in civilian society. The film highlights the fact that for a lot of the returning servicemen and women there is no immediate support system in place that could help ease them back into society. Rather, many individuals have mandatory wait times before they can see a councilor or therapist. Unfortunately, in some cases, many individuals are not willing to participate in such sessions because of the negative stigma associated with seeking “mental health” support; it is seen as a weakness and could affect their future military endeavors. This means many returning soldiers are left to deal with the adjustment process on their own, which can often put unwarranted stress on them and their family life.
During the Q&A post screening, Auberjonois was able to inform the audience on various intricacies of the production. What I found to be most interesting was just how much of a vital role Kate Nowlin played in the making of The Blood Stripe. Nowlin essentially held a co-directory position and was involved from the film’s very inception. Not only did she have to undergo a complete physical transformation, she also had the mental capacity and acting ability to perform the role of someone who has survived military sexual trauma. Her performance was compelling. Blood Stripe is a real eye-opener for someone that has not considered how difficult it must be to conform and adjust to the “normal” daily routines of civilian life.