At Home In The Dark: A Film About Trauma & PTSD

by Charles Shaw

A film that gives people the courage to face their traumas and shows them ways others persevered.

My name is Charles Shaw. I am the author of Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics & Spirituality, and the Director of the documentary film Edward James Olmos presents Exile Nation: The Plastic People.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a subject I have a lot of experience with. When I was younger I suffered severe drug addiction, violence and sexual abuse. I’ve spent years working to rebuild my life. During the years when I worked on Plastic People my collaborators on that film were killed in a car accident, my sister and a friend died of drug overdoses, another friend committed suicide, and my dog was run over right in front of me.

In the case of my sister, we’re not even sure what happened. I decided to investigate what led her to such a dark place, a place I too had once known. These events challenged everything I thought I knew about trauma and our ability to “get over it.” And what I found turned out to be the story of us all. I found that wherever I went, people jumped at the opportunity to talk about the traumatic events of their lives.

So…our goal is to create a film that gives people the courage to face their traumas and shows them ways that others persevered in the work of healing. Our collection of stories includes….

EYDER & DANIEL: A HIV+ gay couple who have sought political asylum in three countries after being unwelcome in their own.
CARY HARRISON: A descendent of one of America’s founding families, former slaveholders, whose father became deranged from alcohol abuse and embraced NeoNazism.
DIMITRI MUGIANIS: A visit to an inner city harm reduction clinic dealing with the overwhelming trauma of life on the streets.
MAJA DUNDER: A victim of family related sexual abuse who now lives in the squat community of Christiania in Copenhagen, Denmark, a haven for trauma survivors.
DAMON SMITH: A Gulf War Veteran, and KELSEY GUSTAFSON, a multiple rape survivor, who both found ancient therapies for their persistent traumas.

We’ll also be looking at four generations of PTSD in my own family.

In this film we travel to locations in NY, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, London, Madrid, Berlin, Copenhagen, and Ibiza. And we have useful information and insights to share from experts like Drs. Gabor Mate, Julie Holland, Benjamin Fry, Andrew Tatarsky, and Kathleen Chard of the Veterans Administration.

We’ll also look at the powerful ways that trauma influences our politics and culture. We have already spent one year filming the stories that make up this documentary. Now we need your help to finish. We’re raising post-production funds for editing, graphics, archival footage and mastering. Your contribution will help us shine a light on this dark area of the human psyche, in the hope that the future can be brighter. By learning to recognize our inheritance of trauma, and by learning ways to cope and to heal, we can improve our own individual lives and hopefully our collective destiny.

Thank you for your support.

Nomad Cinema & Elevate Films presents….
Written, Produced & Directed by Charles Shaw
Produced by Mikki Willis, Ronnie Pontiac, Tamra Spivey, DJ Turner & Akira Chan
Photographed & Edited by Charles Shaw & DJ Turner
Title Song by 9 Theory (feat. Dawn Mitschele)
Musical Score by Master Margherita, Lucid Nation, Dennis LaFollette & Amae Love.
The filmmakers would like to extend their extensive gratitude to the Tedworth Charitable Trust of the Sainsbury Family Foundations for making possible the Production phase of this film.

To contribute please visit: our contribution fund.