Justin Roberts is the director behind No Greater Love, a documentary that follows a battalion from the front lines in Afghanistan to the challenges that come with returning to civilian life. The film has won a number of award at film festivals across the country and has recently secured distribution, which means it might be coming to a theater near you in the fall.
As Justin himself will tell you, he’s not interested in just making films that win awards. He wants to change lives.
Justin isn’t just another filmmaker. He’s also a chaplain who put his own life at risk to document the struggles of the soldiers he has come to cherish. Whatever your thoughts on chaplains and military participation may be, Justin will probably defy them. His position as a military chaplain also means that he’s in a prime position to make the transformative impact that he envisions.
“If I had to clean the film up for the church we would also have to clean up these guys up for the church, and that’s not the way that church should work.” – Justin Roberts
June is PTSD Awareness month, so it’s an appropriate time to discuss No Greater Love, a film that deals extensively with the post-traumatic stress that some soldiers face when returning home. Twenty two veterans commit suicide each day. That’s an unsettling statistic that gets mentioned in the film and in our podcast discussion, not just because of the tragedy it conveys, but for the opportunity to make a difference that it implies.
As Justin mentions in the interview, his Brother’s Keeper program has achieved a 70% reduction in suicide ideation. On top of that, Justin’s battalion had one of the highest suicide rates in the military before his involvement. After Brother’s Keeper got involved with the soldiers, the unit has not seen any new suicides in the veterans who’ve returned to civilian life.
Those are impressive numbers, regardless of where they come from, so anyone who cares about the well-being of our veterans should set aside some time to hear what Justin has it say.
Justin’s film is also a case study on how to turn a film into a movement, one that will be worth studying as it moves into the distribution stage and does more outreaches in the months ahead. Even though it offers an unflinching look at the struggles our soldiers face, No Greater Love is also a film that heralds a noble vision of what America can be at its best. In these troubled political times, who of us could not benefit from a little reminder of that?
Listen to the Episode
Justin and his family at Newport Beach Film Festival
- The film’s website: nglfilm.com
- The outreach focused on raising awareness about veteran suicides, #22kill
- Tim Ferriss’s podcast interview with Sebastian Junger
- Sebastian Junger’s book regarding PTSD and the challenges veterans face when returning home, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
- Related episodes of The nsavides Podcast:
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