The Welcome: a Healing Journey for War Veterans and their Families
Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Two Shoes Productions
Directed by Kim Shelton
DVD , color, 93 min.
College - General Adult
Psychology, Military, Veterans, Mental Health Services, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Reviewed by Carolyn Walden, Mervyn H. Sterne Library, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Date Entered: 12/18/2013
The documentary film, The Welcome, chronicles a brief but therapeutic retreat for 24 family members and veterans of wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq as they come together during Memorial Day weekend in 2008. Michael Meade, master story teller and mythologist, guides the families through the journey designed to help heal emotional and psychological wounds that accompany post traumatic stress disorder and to create an atmosphere of empathy, understanding, and love. The veterans are encouraged to listen during the sharing time for poetry writing, storytelling, and intense discussions of feelings, perceptions, and experiences from the war. Family members are able to listen with their hearts and hear thoughts the veterans never shared. And maybe unexpected for the veterans is the realization that they can care for each other, offer help and support, and learn more about themselves and the reality of their losses.
An important part of the healing journey is a community ready to participate in the Welcome Project. For this film, the town of Ashland, Oregon comes together to show support for the veterans during the culminating Memorial Day program that shares the poetry, songs, and feelings as expressed by the veterans during that weekend. It is also a time for the community to thank and honor the warriors who vividly learned about survival, life, and death during their time as a soldier.
The original music by Todd Boekelheide as a background for the poetry readings or during the moments of comfort from the family member combined with beautiful nature scenes allows the viewer time to reflect on the intensity of the experience. The film also provides follow-up information for the veterans and their current activities as well as references for more information about the Welcome Home Project. The film is a good complement for the Video Project film, Healing a Soldier’s Heart, and is highly recommended for collections in military psychology, post traumatic stress, and the psychological aspects of war.
- Winner, Feature Documentary, Ashland Independent Film Festival
- Audience Favorite Award, Feature Documentary, Mill Valley Film Festival
- Best Dramatic Documentary, US, Docufest Atlanta
- Interfaith Award, Feature Documentary, St. Louis International Film Festival
- Winner, Best Film, The Western Psychological Association Film Festival