Follow the five steps below to get the most out of your UnLonely Film Festival experience!
Step 1: Watch the film.
It had been six years since Sharri Regalado lost her husband, Jose, a US Army Sergeant in Iraq, 55 days before he was scheduled to come home. A single mother raising her six-year-old daughter who never knew her father, Sharri acknowledges the grief and loneliness that has held her back and then begins to find a way to move forward.
About the Filmmakers
Ross Taylor is an award-winning photographer whose subjects have included life in an Afghanistan trauma hospital as well as in a burn unit in upstate New York. He is a visiting professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and co-creator of The Image, Deconstructed: www.imagedeconstructed.com
Jason Greene is an award-winning cinematographer and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon. He is currently a Director of Photography and Editor at Blue Chalk and is also the Multimedia Director at TakingFocus.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to giving back through documentary storytelling.
Step 2: Explore these things after watching the film.
- Have you ever wished to un-see or un-learn something about a loved one? How did you process the new information?
- Like Sharri from the film, are there behaviors or rituals that you endure to perpetuate a cycle of pain and loss? How can you break yourself out of that cycle?
- Who do we see or hear about is in Sharri’s circle of support? How does that compare to your own circle of support? How do you rely on or lean on your friends and family close to you? What would you do if that was no longer an option?
- Set aside a daily practice of writing exclusively about yourself and your hopes for the future. Just five or ten minutes a day to quickly record your reflections. If writing is too time-consuming, then draw/doodle about your internal self as a way to bring them out more into the world.
- Create a diagram that represents how much you dedicate to others vs. how much you dedicate to your own personal development and growth. Place a symbol that represents you in the center of the diagram. For each person in your life to whom you play a supportive role, draw a line towards that person (you can draw a stick figure to represent that person or simply write their name). Make the line thick if you feel you give a lot to this person or thin if the involvement is minimal. Continue making lines clockwise for each individual to whom you give something of yourself. What does the final sketch look like? How many different directions are you directing your energies? What is left for your own internal development? How can you change your sketch to make your life more personally sustaining and nurturing?
- Investigate whether there are families of veterans in your community who could use support—there are many veterans’ organizations online that can help connect you to local groups working with veterans and their families. Find out what the families might need and feel free as well to offer things that could provide a creative outlet like coloring books, journals, or art supplies.
Our Try This page has even more creative expression inspiration!
Step 3: Join in the conversation about the film.
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