The much aniticpated new movie My Brother's Keeper hits theaters February 5, 2021. The film revolves around the story of returning war veteran SFC Travis Fox (TC Stallings) who has one more battle to fight - PTSD. Fox and his best friend SFC Ron "Preach" Pearcy (Joey Lawrence) are in their 6th combat deployment when Preach and his entire Ranger platoon are killed in a deadly IED attack.
Travis returns to his hometown to settle the affairs of his parents who had passed away years before. In searching for answers about his parents, he also discovers a new obstacle in PTSD. He finds support from church counselor Tiffany Robertson (Keshia Knight-Pulliam) and slowly begins to rediscover his faith in God, until he discovers a secret. Travis uncovers a secret hidden by his best friend Donnie Berry (Robert Ri'chard) that threatens his new-found faith, restores his guilt, and causes him to consider the unthinkable.
Ty Manns is the writer behind My Brother's Keeper. The movie tells the story of his own father. When his dad returned from Vietnam, he was a different person - and actually tried to kill his mother. It was only after he walked through the doors of a church that everything changed. Ty is also a veteran - his wife is a veteran - and his 2 sons are enlisted.
Watch the trailer of My Brother's Keeper HERE.
Q: Ty, thanks for doing this interview with us. Tell us briefly, what is "My Brother's Keeper" about?
My Brother's Keeper (MBK) is a story about a Soldier (TS Stallings) that comes home from the war after his best friend (Joey Lawrence) is killed in combat. Once home, he decides to look into and discovers concerns surrounding the tragic car accident that claimed the lives of his parents three years earlier. During his search for answers about his parent's accident, he suffers from severe bouts of PTSD.
Q: Is it difficult to write a movie based on the struggles you have had with your dad's struggle with PTSD?
I wouldn't say it was difficult. Those days were many years ago. For me, I'd say writing this story was more, reflective and meditative. Our father recovered from his fight with PTSD and became a man of God, eventually pastoring churches and helping people for many years until his death 12-years ago. Writing this story provided me the opportunity to not only reflect and think back on those days, but to the wonderful days that followed.
Q: How has your dad's PTSD affected you while you were growing up?
There were some difficult days and nights for sure. The screaming, excessive alcohol drinking, and drugs. There were good days when he would laugh, joke, and have fun with us, then there were the days when he and our mother yelled at each other relentlessly, and there were the days when he'd vanish for days. However, through it, all the family (specifically myself and my four siblings) grew closer, became more protective over each other. We are still that way today.
I (we) didn't suffer any physical abuse. He wasn't that man. It was more like he was trying to punish himself in order to deal with his anguish.
Q: In the movie, the turning point for Travis Fox comes when he meets Christ. What is the role of faith in one's struggle with PTSD?
I don't know that I'm qualified to answer this question. PTSD manifests itself differently with everyone it impacts and I can only say what I believe the role faith played in our family's struggles.
Our family was at the end of our rope. After a massive outburst one night, our mother packed us up and we went to our grandmother's house. Several days later our dad came and apologized to all of us. He didn't want to lose their marriage or the family. Our grandmother suggested my mom and dad go get counseled by the Pastor. They did and that led to him becoming a man of God. So, to finish - faith saved our family, returned him to the good and Godly man he was, and gave us over 30-more years with him before his death.
Q: One aspect of the movie that I like is the role the church plays in ministering to people suffering from PTSD. What can Christians do to help those with PTSD?
I think what Christians can do is make sure a door is always open and there will always be someone behind that door they can talk to.
The message I hope people take from MBK is if things get tough, even if you are just having a bad day, or you feel you may be at the end of your rope - if you are able, find a church and walk through the doors. Someone inside will take time to talk to you and that may be the one thing that saves them.
Q: What are you most excited about this new movie?
I'm excited for people to see TC Stallings' performance in the movie. The work he does in this film is incredible. The outburst you see in the movie are taken from the actual outbursts we observed as kids. TC does a great job capturing those explosive moments.
I'm also excited for the cast and crew. They performed and worked so hard. I'm excited for people to see their work.
Q: How does this movie help those of us who struggle with PTSD or know of people struggling with it?
Again, I don't think I can answer this question and I'm not sure how much the movie can help those that struggle with PTSD. What I pray is those suffering PTSD that see the movie will know that if they are suffering and they can just find a way to walk through a church door, they can find someone to talk to and possibly their faith in God, and I pray the film does for them what it did for myself and my family.