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Published on March 04, 2024
"My Dead Friend Zoe": Bronze Star Vet's Film Debuts at SXSW, Tackling PTSD and Veteran LifeSource: Legion M/SXSW

The landscape of indie filmmaking at South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival is set to welcome, "My Dead Friend Zoe," a dark comedy shining a light on the nuances of the veteran experience. As reported by KOIN, the Oregon-produced movie is making waves not just for its storyline but also for the real-life military background of its writer and director, Kyle Hausmann-Stokes.

Hausmann-Stokes, a Bronze Star recipient and U.S. Army vet channels his own post-service struggles into the narrative of the film, which features a potent mix of friendship, family, loss, and humor. "It's a film about friendship, family, loss, humor, and heart, and based on a lot of my experiences during and after the military with PTSD and the whole veteran experience," Hausmann-Stokes told KOIN 6 News. This marks yet another entry in the burgeoning field of films tackling the mental health challenges faced by those who have served in the military.

The cast of "My Dead Friend Zoe" includes Sonequa Martin-Green, and Natalie Morales, alongside veterans of the screen Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, Utkarsh Ambudkar, and Gloria Reuben, according to multiple reports. The film navigates the life of a female Afghanistan veteran, her unique bond with her deceased Army colleague, and the strains of reconnecting with her Vietnam veteran grandfather. The personal depth of the story is given additional weight with the knowledge that the film indirectly supports veteran organizations across the country.

In addition to telling a poignant story, Hausmann-Stokes also co-founded Veterans in Media & Entertainment, an organization focused on providing a bridge between military life and the entertainment industry for veterans. "As a veteran, he champions efforts supporting mental health, gun safety, and his fellow veterans," says a report from fox8.com. This initiative, speaks volumes about the potential of film and storytelling as tools for advocacy and societal impact, especially for those who've worn the uniform.

The film's world premiere at the coveted SXSW Film Festival underscores the growing demand for narrative-driven projects that grapple with significant social issues. The decision to debut "My Dead Friend Zoe" at such a prominent venue highlights the increasing crossover between independent cinema and mainstream platforms in raising awareness around topics like PTSD and the veteran experience. For more information on the upcoming release and festival screening dates, additional details have been shared by KOIN's sister station, News 2. The premiere of "My Dead Friend Zoe" is set to be a stride forward both in cinematic storytelling and in veteran-specific outreach and support.