THIS IS NOT A WAR STORY tracks a ragtag group of combat veterans in New York whose anti-war art, poetry and papermaking keep them together, despite the specter of their friend’s suicide and the ever-crystalizing fact that healing from war is sometimes an impossible mission. Produced by Acoustic Pictures, executive producer Rosario Dawson, directed by Talia Lugacy.
Meet the filmmaker and veterans involved in the film. Following the screening, TCFA will host a panel discussion to talk to the audience and answer questions about their experiences and continuing projects.
This hybrid narrative film features a supporting cast of Iraq and Vietnam veterans, as well as their original artwork, poetry, and music - and was produced over three years as an ongoing collaboration with a thriving community of veteran artists and papermakers. Through the process of shredding uniforms, writing poems, exposing their art to the public and telling stories in confidence within their group, the veterans in THIS IS NOT A WAR STORY find a way to give their suffering voice and clarity.
Timothy Reyes (DANNY RAMIREZ) hustles through the NYC subway system. Oblivious passers-by don’t notice he is popping pills, fading, killing himself. Discovered dead on an empty train, no one knows him to be a combat veteran. His mentor, Will LaRue (SAM ADEGOKE) blames himself and wrestles with the guilt, and a resurgence of his own demons from war. His refuge: a multi-generational community of artist veterans, who make handmade paper out of military uniforms. Shredding them, pulverizing them - uniforms are reconstituted into paper, onto which the veterans express their rage, humor, memories, and hopes, in the form of art and poetry. Into this community arrives Isabelle (TALIA LUGACY) - a veteran recently returned home, only to find home more alienating and hostile than being at war. Her family and estranged mother (FRANCES FISHER) can’t fathom or accept her identity as a Marine. Will and Isabelle forge a tenuous alliance in this community of mostly white male veterans, and Isabelle’s increasing fixation on Will as some kind of savior or teacher digs directly against his private struggle to accept Timothy’s suicide and intensifies his self-blame for failing to save him. The confrontations and the bond between Will and Isabelle propel them into a deeper questioning of themselves, and into what it means, finally, to want to live.