Cinergy Cinemas in Copperas Cove to show special screening of documentary Hell or High Seas
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Cinergy Cinemas will be showing a one-time screening of the documentary film HELL OR HIGH SEAS on Wednesday, October 13, at 7 p.m.
The film follows U.S. Navy veteran Taylor Grieger and writer Stephen O’Shea as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime — sailing around Cape Horn, the world’s most treacherous ocean waters. The 90-minute documentary is a moving portrait of a veteran using his own painful journey with PTSD to find healing for himself and to pave a smoother path for veterans returning to civilian life.
HELL OR HIGH SEAS is modern-day odyssey with a man on a mission to raise awareness about the very real problem of veterans’ suicide while calming his own storms within.
Grieger is a Navy Rescue Swimmer veteran who gave everything for his country and then risked it all to save himself after returning home. He was diagnosed with complex PTSD after his release from the Navy and was given little-to-no guidance on how to cope. Despite this, he and Stephen O’Shea came up with the idea for a trip that would get attention and use social media and news media to raise awareness about the veteran suicide epidemic.
More than 20 veterans die from suicide each day in the United States.
As the producers of the documentary have shown, it is a dark and ironic fact that the transition for military personnel into civilian life can be more deadly than combat itself.
Grieger spent his life savings on a dilapidated 36-foot Watkins sailboat and then spent nine months reinforcing the hull, refurbishing the interior and replacing the sails and rigging. He and O’Shea then set sail for the first leg of their expedition in September of 2017 and rounded Cape Horn on December 28, 2018.
O’Shea decided to get involved after he learned just how little he knew about what American servicemembers had gone through overseas. It wasn’t until he was interviewing veterans for his book, “From the Land of Genesis,” that he began to realize that he had been oblivious to the struggles they faced when they returned home.
O’Shea and Grieger used top of the line DSLR cameras, multiple GoPros and a drone to capture the footage and document their expedition through raging storms (including Hurricane Harvey) calms seas and remarkable landscapes.
Through documenting this extraordinary journey, the people behind Hell or High Seas hope the film will educate audiences to the very real struggles many veterans face when they return home. Through the dozens of screenings across the country and through outreach efforts, the film will create a thoughtful dialogue about how to change this situation, and how each person can play a role.
Veterans who are struggling will come to realize they are not alone and that the symptoms they experience as they transition back into civilian life or even just back into life at home are normal.
Grieger has also co-founded the American Odysseus Sailing Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that provides veterans and first-responders living with Post Traumatic Stress the opportunity to “heal at sea” by using research-based methods of learning to live with trauma through something called Adventure Therapy (AT). The foundation provides relief, assistance and opportunities through sail training, coastal cruising excursions and off-shore sailing expeditions.
The film is produced by FreshFly and The Workshop production companies. The film’s sailing team consisted of Taylor Grieger, a Navy Rescue Swimmer veteran and Captain and Stephen O’Shea, writer and First Mate; as well as John Rose, a Navy Rescue Swimmer veteran and Sailor; and Kellen Warner, a Navy Aviation Rescue Swimmer and Sailor.
The Film Crew consists of Director Glenn Holsten, Produce Chayne Gregg, Executive Producers Robert Irvine, Tom Farrell and Matt Howley; Director of Photography John Pope; Editor Vic Carreno; Composer Michael Aharon; and Dave Bauer and Meg Sarachan for additional editing.
Tickets for the showing can be found at https://cinergy.com/movie/hell-or-high-seas/.