An untitled documentary about the experimental use of psychedelics to treat former Navy SEALs’ traumatic brain injuries and PTSD is in the works from Participant.
The project, produced by Participant, Actual Films and Chicago Media Project, will depict U.S. special operation veterans as they seek the controversial, transformative treatment.
Following former Navy SEALs who suffer from anxiety, pain and suicidal thoughts, the documentary finds the veterans at their breaking points, which leads them to the cutting edge of alternative treatments. The documentary uses interviews, archival footage, animation and intimate verité to depict the soldiers’ stories, as well as the groundbreaking research on the ancient natural medicines taking place at the Bay Area-based Brain Stimulation Lab.
The documentary features veteran Marcus Capone, who has struggled to acclimate to civilian life. His wife Amber sent him out of the country to receive a lifesaving psychedelic treatment — which includes ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT — that is illegal in the U.S. The Capones, alarmed by the veteran suicide rates, race against time to help bring these treatments to other struggling families.
“As so many veterans struggle with the aftereffects of their service without the support they need, we’re honored to work with Actual Films to tell the story of the Capones and their groundbreaking efforts,” said Participant CEO David Linde in a statement. “This film confronts hard truths about the lack of essential mental health care for those that have served their country and takes the audience on a truly compassionate and emotional journey they will not forget.”
The documentary is directed by Jon Shenk and Bonni Cohen with producer Jessica Anthony. Diane Weyermann and Jeff Skoll of Partipant executively produced the film, along with Justine Nagan of Actual Films and Paula Froehle, Steven Cohen, Shizuka Asakawa and Kent McCleerey of the Chicago Media Project.
Participant’s other works include “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,” “Descendant” and the upcoming “Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power.”
“Over the years, we have been honored to share stories of survivors struggling with the lingering effects of trauma, and this project goes in the most surprising directions,” said Shenk. “Marcus and Amber Capone, and their community, are warriors who are helping to open a window that will have profound effects on how we think about treating mental health and brain injury.”