Movie Night: “Visions of Warriors”

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Sunday, June 25 / 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Special Event

“Visions of Warriors” enters the minds of four veterans from the Vietnam War era to the Iraq War who are battling against mental illness—Mark Pinto, Homerina "Merina" Bond, Ari Sonnenberg, and Priscilla "Peni" Bethel. They participate in the groundbreaking Veteran Photo Recovery Project at the VA Menlo Park and use innovative photography therapy to treat their moral injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, and other mental illnesses. The documentary also profiles the Veteran Photo Recovery Project team—founder and nurse practitioner Susan Quaglietti, art therapist Jeff Stadler, clinical social worker Ryan Gardner, and clinical psychologist Kristin McDonald. With a non-linear narrative structure to mirror the veterans’ shattered lives, the film alternates between the veterans and the mental health providers. It also introduces other dynamic veterans who participated in the program. The overall narrative arc of the film extends from the veterans’ diverse backgrounds to their challenging military service to their debilitating mental illness to their intensive treatment. Because the veterans use photography therapy to treat their mental illness, the cinematography is inspired by iconic photo essays in Life Magazine and National Geographic that intimately capture people's lives. Ultimately, "Visions of Warriors" is a universal story about the strength of the human spirit. 



"After learning about Susan Quaglietti and the Veteran Photo Recovery Project, we were inspired to create a feature documentary about her compassionate work. We were deeply moved by the veterans’ powerful stories. As war and conflicts continue, many veterans are coming back and suffering from mental illness. Shockingly, 22 veterans commit suicide every day. To make matters worse, the VA system has been involved in a growing scandal, from a huge backlog to wait time cover-ups to even patient deaths. Hopefully, by sharing the veterans' incredible stories of heroism and survival, our film raises awareness about the rise of veteran mental illness and the power of innovative photography therapy to treat it. We're deeply honored to be able to document the extraordinary lives of the veterans and their mental health providers."—Ming Lai, Producer / Writer / Director

Session Details


VA, Trauma, Stigma, Wellness, Community Integration, Self-Efficacy


Ryan Gardner

Susan Quaqlietti