This fundraiser is about helping veterans. The ones who fall through the cracks, their struggle to find a life they once knew, yet how hard it is to find a road home. I am a US Navy Veteran,. Souldier is my film.
We pass these faceless, homeless men and women every day, standing on corners, asking for change outside the gas station and wandering the streets night after night.
One can point to all the different Help A Vet divisions that exist within the VA, or the myriad of private organizations that are centered on veteran assistance, but the facts are that the homeless veteran population is growing and the number of suicides is almost double from less than five years ago.
At the genesis of Souldier, I was a veteran who barely used the VA, and never needed any of the services beyond simple medical issues. I had never been homeless or suicidal, and certainly didn't require any mental health benefits.
Five years later, I can speak from first hand experience what it's like to try to and get back on your feet again as veteran, as man, as a human being. It is very much like being invisible. It's not that you aren't there, it's that you are and no one can deal with your life tragedy. In my own circle of friends and family, the stigma(s) that I carry with me eclipse my identity, taking me from a "person" to a statistic.
There should be NO HOMELESS VETERANS IN AMERICA.
If we can build a wall for millions of dollars, we can certainly reach out and rescue the men and women who were willing to die for our freedom. Freedom is NOT free.
Souldier is a single, ongoing drumbeat to raise public awareness for our veterans, and to educate & inform. I found out that almost zero property managers were aware of the VA's willingness to provide tax incentives and subsidies for those who house veterans.
It's not so much that they are homeless, or sick, or have PTSD, it's more of a tragedy because these remarkable men and women are potential Dr.s. Coaches, Teachers, and even Counselors.
Somebody asked me why I'd make a movie about Veterans when I could easily do something more profitable.
My answer is simple, I make a movie, or I can make a movie and hopefully make a difference.
Russ Littlefield IMDb.com / Souldier
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