HOMEMADE is a five year, cinematic and intimate journey about a marriage, invisible wounds and the effects of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and addiction. Weaving between the monumental landscapes of Utah, Washington DC landmarks, cinéma vérité scenes and recorded phone calls, HOMEMADE tells an intimate story of US Marine Adam Sorensen and his wife Victoria.
HOMEMADE was developed from the idea that the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) goes off twice; once in the field, affecting each individual differently depending on a variety of factors including proximity to the blast, physical position and past injuries. There is a second blast that goes off in each family living room as a result of the actual explosion. It’s footprint reaches our closest loved ones, the physicians treating the wounded, and extends into our communities. The film examines the culture of treating symptoms instead of cause and the disconnect between medical care and true wellness. Themes addressed include continuity of care, the epidemic of over-prescription in both military and civilian care, and the stereotypes of injured combat veterans.
HOMEMADE aims to close the empathy gap between civilian and military communities, start productive dialogues, and provide audiences with an abundance of tools in order to take action. We are developing a dynamic and measurable impact campaign to highlight and amplify the work already being done to support returning military and their families. Our team is also creating an online platform for those moved by the film to advocate and get involved with organizations that work through domestic needs, research, policy, employment opportunities, the arts and alternative therapy.
Staff Sergeant Adam Sorensen, a highly decorated Force Reconnaissance Marine was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) October 26, 2010 in Sangin, Afghanistan. He was standing next to his fellow Marine, Jonathon Blank, who stepped on the device, losing both legs. The blast left shrapnel and shards of Jonathon’s bone throughout Adam’s back and head. The concussive effects of the blast caused Adam to be diagnosed with TBI and PTS.
Upon his return, Adam remains on active duty and while stationed in San Diego he meets Victoria at a bar. They fall deeply in love and marry three months later. Together they move to Fort Benning, Georgia, where Adam is transferred to teach at the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade. Despite his injuries Adam is a high functioning Marine and at the request of his wife decides to go to Officer Candidate School (OCS) in order to advance his military career and pursue his education.
Victoria, unhappy in their Georgia home and grieving the loss of her father, begins to experience advanced symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). She is prescribed painkillers and begins receiving treatment to reduce the fusion of her spine. Adam’s job requires him to be away for several days a week, which begins to wear on their relationship. Hopeful that these pressures will change, the young couple plan the next chapter in their lives together.
The camera follows as the two pack up their home in Columbus, GA and prepare Victoria to move to Salt Lake City while Adam remains in Columbus to complete OCS. Despite his injuries and subsequent short term memory loss, Adam graduates OCS as an honor graduate breaking several United States Marine Corps (USMC) records during the process. Though he exhibited some signs of short term memory loss he was outperforming younger marines who had no injuries and had never been deployed. The Marine Corps doctors tell him that if was he not a Force Recon Marine, they would not allow an individual with his level of injury to pursue Officer Candidate School.
The University of Utah recognizes Sorensen as Veteran of the Year in 2014, the same month he takes a loaded weapon out in front of Victoria and her mother and contemplates suicide. Adam retains a 4.0 GPA and Victoria enrolls in American University’s emergency management masters program. She soon discovers the extent of her husband’s addiction and depression, when Adam shatters her trust by repeatedly stealing her pain medications. Their marriage continues to unfold. Short term memory loss, anxiety, depression and addiction infiltrate Adam’s daily life, and damages his reputation in the military and negatively affects his marriage.
After three suicide scares, six hospitalizations, and one jail sentence, Adam and Victoria finalize their divorce. As the two seek wellness and independence from the relationship and the military, they reveal their determination to heal from invisible wounds and disease.