Empty Streets: A PTSD Film

A guest post by Paul Booth

I first learned of PTSD (2005) three years after my friend return from War. I thought it was singular to soldiers. I didn’t know something like a drunk driver hitting me head in 2009, would take two years of my life in therapy (physical and mental) and three (plus) years of symptoms. For a disease some say is “only in your mind”, the irony is; it is in your mind (and your mind controls everything).

In 2007 I felt my friend’s experiences with PTSD were being ignored by the VA Hospital. He was really struggling. We got together and decided we’d make a film to give voice to Veterans with PTSD and the dreaded substance abuse problem that can accompany PTSD. We openly admit to over-coming struggles with “substance”. However it is those experiences that ultimately informed our art and gives us an appreciation for the fact we came back from the “dark” to live our “light”. Empty Streets is a film and blog that were meant to and do heal people all over the world (www.emptystreetsmovie.blogspot.com).

I’m a humanist. I know PTSD doesn’t discriminate. Through a blog we created that has traveled to 50 countries and a film that has screened in at least 10 states; we know we were able to turn some of the pain of PTSD on it’s side. I can hardly remember life without it. I long for a day before my friend went to War. I dream about days I spent with my first-love before a drunk driver hit us. Yet, in the final analysis; it makes myself and my Veteran who we are.

The multi-award winning short film “Empty Streets,” shot in Lodi, Modesto and Sacramento, Calif., tells the story of “Johnny” and his troubles in society due to being a homeless Veteran that did not receive his Govt. benefits. Empty Streets takes place over the course of one night, but is based on real events in the life of a Marine veteran who returned home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


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