The latest episode in our Resilience Unravelled series has now been released Episode (82) The Role of Filmmaking in Dealing with Trauma.
In this episode Dr. Russell Thackeray is in conversation with Eric Christensen a documentary filmmaker from Burbank, California. Eric started making films in 2nd Grade and he was working successfully in the film industry when on June 27th 1990 he lost his home and all his possessions in the Painted Cave Fire, near to the Santa Barbara Mountains in California.
After the fire Eric had to get help from Red Cross Centre’s and it was here that he realised he could talk to other fire survivors easily but found it more difficult to communicate with anyone who hadn’t experienced the disaster. A few months later he started work on his first feature documentary film ‘Faces in the Fire’, a film about recovery following a natural disaster. Eric feels that the film enabled healing on both sides of the camera and that by processing and debriefing feelings, survivors were helped to heal by validating their experiences and realising that they were not alone.
As well as ‘Faces in the Fire’, Eric has directed two other documentaries about trauma – ‘Homecoming: a Vietnam Vets Journey’ and Searching for Home: Coming Back from War’. As well as the empathy to know how trauma survivors feel, big component of the work is the theme of resilience which runs through these documentaries .
Eric’s films are now used by mental health organisations in the USA where his work is used to help clinicians dealing with survivors in disaster areas. His latest work is called ‘Unmasking Hope’ which explores the face of trauma through the stories of survivors who have experienced various crisis and donned ‘masks’ to hide the pain.
You can find out more at: https://www.unmaskinghopethemovie.com/
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