SAN DIEGO — The opening scenes from "American Hero" are frightening and graphic.
Writer and director, Manny McCord told CBS 8, "American Hero is about a veteran dealing with PTSD and throughout the film, we find it stems from the sexual assault she faced while in the service."
McCord based his story on a person very close to him. He put his 15-minute short together on a micro budget.
"I wasn't able to pay anybody, so everybody who came on board was doing me favors, all super-inspired to be part of this story," said McCord.
It is one of dozens of movies being presented this week at the GI Film Festival at Balboa Park.
"Shell Shocked" also deals with post-traumatic stress. Paula Cajiao is a former nurse with the U.S. Marines.
"It follows the story of a combat veteran that's been back for two years and he suffers from battle injury stuttering so he, out of desperation, finds a controversial drug that has been banned since World War II," said Cajiao.
Both filmmakers are hoping to effect change through understanding. The GI Film Festival gives them a voice and more.
Film Consortium San Diego president and founder Jodi Cilley said, "Not only do they get to watch their films in front of an audience, which is terrifying and exhilirating but it also shows how the audience react; Do they cry, laugh, clap? Do they leave? You really don't know until you see it in front of an audience."
The GI Film Festival wraps up Saturday night with an awards presentation. The films will be available online at GIFilmFestivalSD.org; until Memorial Day.
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