L.A.-based actor and filmmaker Anouar H. Smaine recently released "Battle Fields," a film about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder illustrated through two very different viewpoints: Veterans and refugees.
“My film tries to raise awareness about PTSD because its psychological effects destroy lives beyond any battlefield,” Smaine said, adding that he created to film because of the need to increase public understanding of the issue.
Walking through downtown Culver City where he often writes, Smaine reflected upon why the subjects of war and PTSD interest him. He points to a light green beaded necklace, which he wraps around his wrist.
“This is actually the only thing that I inherited from my grandfather. He lived through three major wars,” he said.
Smaine said his writing style was impacted by just that: Observing the heavy effects of war through the eyes of his grandfather in Algeria. He said that he believes his layered perspective gave him empathy for those that must live and fight through war.
In the film, Smaine used the soldier’s character, played by Sean Stone, son of renowned filmmaker Oliver Stone, to display how real PTSD is for returning veterans.
He then juxtaposes that similar emotion, with the almost same exact feelings of the refugees, played by Smaine himself, and actress Emily Debinie.
“I wanted to see these two worlds, or two cultures, come face to face, and show the effects of war, on each culture, on each individual, on each human being,” said Smaine.
While the film has had success in festivals around the world, Smaine says he has a particular hope for this film.
“It’s important that society understands that war has terrible effects on human beings. And it’s important also that society contributes to help those human beings reintegrate and lead healthy and productive existences,” he said.
An existence, he emphasized, that both veterans and refugees equally deserve.
The film will be available to online Spring 2019.