Help Wanted was the code name for what became SAM, a short film that was inspired by the need to address veteran suicide prevention. At the time in 2014, it was revealed that approximately 22 veterans commit suicide everyday. The number has since remained stagnant with a seemingly endless body count of veterans taking their own lives after serving in recent wars. Not only has America seen an alarming rate of veterans committing suicide, it seems that we, as a society, have been suffering a rise in trauma, distress, and suicide across the country.
We created this film in the hopes of sounding the alarm amongst our friends, family, and neighbors that suicide is closer than a lot of people think. Without the right type of support, relationships, and networks people can feel lost and alone. I think the overall point we wanted to communicate with the film was to be there for people, to care for each other, to make an honest effort to seek the human contact necessary for fostering relationships.
SAM | Trailer from Alexis Garcia Rocca on Vimeo.
The film was featured at the GI Film Festival in 2015 alongside Project 22, another film following two combat-wounded veterans who, after tragedy struck home, set out to end a little-known epidemic in America – 22 every day. “Their 6,500-mile cross-country mission was to raise awareness of the high rate of suicide amongst Veterans and show their brothers and sisters-at-arms that there is hope for them. Daniel and Doc will stop at nothing to reach tomorrow’s twenty-two.” (PBS)
Ultimately the film was a collaboration between many contributors, but all hail Alexis Garcia (aka @lexroc) for writing the screenplay and directing the film with support from veterans, actors, and other creatives from Miami to Ohio to southern California.
When death, suicide, or overdose occurs, it’s not just the soul passing to the next level of existence, but a rippling effect through the network they were a part of, leaving family, friends, and other associates grieving over a loss that could have been prevented. Enjoy this film, and this BTS gallery from the production days.
According to the VA, its suicide prevention coordinators reached nearly 2 million people at 18,836 events; touched 18 million people by social media during one week in October alone; and help nearly 2,000 callers a day to the Veterans Crisis Line, the department’s suicide prevention hotline.