One Halloween: Wounded Warrior Finds His Way Home
This is not just a Halloween story. Nor is it another story about a broken war veteran. One Halloween is about indomitable spirit of recovery and ultimately, how we love after loss.
One Halloween is a short film that follows a soldier and former boxer, played by wounded warrior and bronze star recipient Joey Banegas, through one Halloween night as he tries to connect with his 10-year-old daughter upon returning home after losing his leg in a truck explosion in Afghanistan.
When Joey returns home he struggles to bridge the distance that war and injury has taken from him when he comes home to his wife and daughter. What was once familiar, an old pair of boxing gloves, finds new purpose when Joey helps teach his daughter how to box. It’s through boxing and humor that Joey and his daughter find their way back to each other.
The story is based on writer/director and Army veteran Rebecca Murga's experience as a soldier who deployed as one of the first women attached to Special Forces and NAVY SEALS, as well as documentary work she completed at Brooke Army Medical Center, in San Antonio with the wounded veterans there.
“When I met Joey, and listened to his story, I knew I wanted this film to be about him and his experience,” said Rebecca Murga “So we cast Joey for the part and decided to use as many military veterans as possible in the film.”
Murga looked to the group Veterans in Film and Television for hiring cast and crew. More than 25 veterans and 3 wounded veterans worked on the set.
Murga says, “The most difficult scene of One Halloween was the opening scene. When Joey wakes up and puts his prosthetic leg on in the morning. Taking his leg on and off for that scene caused him to develop severe blisters at the end of filming. But he never complained. He said, “‘I just want to help tell this story.’”
The cast and crew’s emotional connection to the story shines through. Murga says that the cast and crew who never had dealt with an amputee were really “impacted” and were thankful they had the opportunity to work on the film.
“I love directing because there is real power in storytelling that allows a filmmaker to take a point of view,” says Murga. “For me, it was an opportunity to tell stories about military veterans in a way they had not been told before.”
One Halloween is the recipient of the NALIP Latino Lens incubator grant funded by Time Warner Foundation, NEA and HBO. Grants were also provided by Disabled American Veterans, and Panavision New Filmmakers Grant.
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