Follow the five steps below to get the most out of your UnLonely Film Festival experience!
Step 1: Watch the film.
Bobby Henline survived an Iraq War IED blast that killed four of his fellow servicemen and left him with burns covering almost 40% of his body. Today, he is a stand-up comedian, healing himself and helping others laugh and live through painful challenges, including fellow burn victims.
About the Filmmaker
Photographer and filmmaker Peter van Agtmael spent years embedding with troops in both wars. Born in Washington, D.C., van Agtmael is a Magnum photographer who has won numerous photography awards, from the World Press Photo, American Photography Annual, The Pulitzer Center, The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, among others. His book, ‘Disco Night Sept 11,’ on America at war in the post-9/11 era was named a ‘Book of the Year’ by The New York Times Magazine. He is a founder and partner of Red Hook Editions.
Step 2: Explore these things after watching the film.
- The title may be understood differently at the beginning of the film and at the end. Can you think of any examples from your life, of people who were considered sick, disabled or challenged who turned out to be powerful role models or sources of wisdom and grace? Do you think there is a correlation?
- Bobby explains that the best revenge is helping more people than the person who harmed him ended up hurting. Has there been a time in your life when you persevered despite someone pushing you down? What did you learn about yourself?
- In spite of everything that happened, Bobby says at the beginning of the film that there are still so many things to be thankful for. What are you thankful for?
- The film starts with Bobby recounting a dream or vision he had while he was in a coma, where he saw images of himself on an iceberg. He felt very calm and comfortable and heard voices telling him that everything was going to be okay. Have you had a similarly serene and calming vision? Quickly sketch that scene in as much detail as possible. Put the sketch in a place where you can find it if you need it.
- Create a wire sculpture with a disability. See here for a quick tutorial on how to create a human-form wire sculpture. Using a 12” length or so of 2-2.5mm wire (or play around with the materials you have at home—stretch out thin paper clips, use chicken wire scraps, or unused and unconnected electrical wires—just be careful to tape ends to avoid any scratches) create a human form that can stand balanced unassisted. Now take this sculpture and rework it so that it loses a limb—an arm or a leg. Can you still get it to balance unassisted? Now, rework it again and lose another limb. Which limb do you choose? What are the trade-offs and the priorities? Add additional details to your sculpture and then display in your home or office for others to see. What kind of conversations does the piece inspire?
- Sit in a public place with your eyes closed. Listen to the voices of people around you and try to imagine them–what they look like, what they are wearing, how you think they occupy the space around them. Now open your eyes and see whether your assumptions match up.
Our Try This page has even more creative expression inspiration!
Step 3: Join in the conversation about the film.
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