LOS ANGELES—The work of the nonprofit Bob Woodruff Foundation in helping injured soldiers reintegrate into American society is the subject of a powerful new documentary short and public service ad, produced by A Common Thread and directed by Kenny Stoff.
The documentary and PSA feature real service people who have returned home with serious physical and mental injuries, including amputations, traumatic brain injuries and PTSD. In the documentary, soldiers and their family members discuss how they were hurt and some of the obstacles that they face in resuming civilian lives. The documentary debuted at the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s fifth annual Stand up for Heroes fundraising event in New York City. The PSA was nationally broadcast on CBS and has screened in more than 2000 movie theaters nationwide.
Stoff and a small crew spent six days in San Antonio and New York interviewing and shooting more than 20 service members and their families. In San Antonio, Stoff shot at the Returning Heroes Home, a rehabilitation center funded through private donations. In New York, he met with service people at a veterans housing development in Fordham Village, New York University and other locations.
“It was one of the most moving experiences of my life,” says Stoff. “Taking part in this project was also a deeply emotional experience for these guys. They didn’t hold anything back from the camera; they let it all out.”
Stoff, who has worked on a number of advertising campaigns for the U.S. Marine Corps, said that his aim was to capture the soldiers’ stories in as simple and direct a way as possible. “You talk to someone who is a triple amputee and listen as he explains how he goes hunting with a compound bow, pulling the string back with his teeth—it’s incredibly moving,” he notes. “The term is often used lightly, but they really are heroes.”
A Common Thread is located at 4081 Redwood Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90066. For more information, call 310.823.7300 or visit http://www.acommonthread.tv