Omaha woman aims to help veterans with PTSD through movie

Published: Apr. 26, 2018 at 6:12 PM CDT
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Post-traumatic stress disorder affects a growing number of military men and women, but one woman hopes her film will help raise awareness and help someone struggling with PTSD before it’s too late.

For the last two years, Julie Etta Hudson has been working on her film, “Silence.” It’s a silent film written on her experience and experiences from countless others.

Julie’s husband Michael Hudson was in the Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I got PTSD while I was overseas, and they sent me back early,” Michael said.

Dealing with PTSD has been tough for their entire family, but both Mike and Julie want others who are struggling to know they’re not alone.

“There’s been a lot of stuff that we go through, and I know that I’m not the only family,” Julie said. “It used to just be Hudson. Hudson was the one who had this issue, and so we were always helping Hudson.”

It’s one of the purposes of the movie, which Julie, a military brat herself, said is written with a shock and awe approach.

Filming took just a few days, but all the actors are military members and their families. The director came to the United States from Peru to help with the film.

“It feels like it brings it to real life, and it’s just not some actor acting. They’ve actually been through it and know what it’s about,” Michael said.

6 News was there for just a few hours of filming. Filming locations include Linoma Beach, Millard Airport, Millard VFW and a house in Millard.

It started off as just a desire to find a way to reach out to others, and since Julie has experience in production, she thought it would be the best way to reach the most amount of people.

“You’ll see the biggest audiences that way instead of going and talking in auditoriums or getting people to sign up for speeches or whatever. I figured if you shoved it in that film festival, the short blocks, people don’t even know they’re going to see it, and it’ll spread even more awareness,” Julie said.

Michael is Julie’s inspiration behind the entire movie. He told 6 News the stigma goes far beyond what people think.

A lot of guys don’t want to talk about it because that’s not – the military will make you into what they want. They’ll make you into the man that they want, and it’s almost like a disgrace if you show your actual feelings,” Michael said.

The movie is currently in post-production, but Julie hopes to show the film at next year’s Omaha Film Festival among others in the country and even one in Peru.

It has been a fun and exhausting experience for Michael and Julie, but it has been worth it knowing they’ll likely make a difference in someone’s life.

“Just because they come home and take off their uniform doesn’t mean that they’re just like everybody else,” Julie said. “I know that everybody has their problems, but these are the individuals who sacrificed, who signed that dotted line for a bunch of strangers they’ve never even met before so that we can endure our freedoms. I think they deserve the respect, honor and recognition for having done such because a lot of them never leave that war no matter how many times they come home.”

It has cost the couple at least $10,000 up this point. They’ve been able to fund their efforts entirely through donations and fundraisers, but they still need at least $5,000 more to help them through production and help them enter into film festivals.

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Julie also plans on donating a portion of proceeds to the “22 Too Many” organization.