I had just returned from Afghanistan in 2011, and was interviewing wounded soldiers at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) when the idea for the short film ONE HALLOWEEN (premiered on HBO digital October 1st) came to me.
I was interviewing all of these soldiers, and remembered one of them telling me a story. He said, one Halloween he decided to dress up in a costume and lay on the front lawn to scare the neighborhood kids who were trick or treating. The kids in the neighborhood loved it and it became an annual thing. It was a way that he used humor to cope with his new body. And the kids would ask him questions about his legs, and it opened up a discussion. I knew this was a story I wanted to tell.
We tailored the story around a young man named Joey Banagas who served in the US Army. Joey was a specialist and a 50-caliber anti-tank gunner assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division when he was one of about 100 soldiers detailed to support a Special Forces unit assigned to a remote area of southeastern Afghanistan. Joey was tasked with a resupply mission in 2004 when a bomb went off under his Humvee, causing him to lose his leg.
When I met Joey, and listened to his story, I knew I wanted this film to be about him and his experience. So we cast Joey for the part and decided to use as many military veterans as possible in the film. We looked in our group, Veterans in Film and Television, for hiring cast and crew, as we knew there would be wounded warriors on set and we wanted to make them feel as comfortable as possible.
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