Since 2001, 2.77 million U.S. service members have been deployed to support American war efforts. Approximately 14 to 20 percent of veterans who engaged in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan experience PTSD, while 32.4 percent of female veterans report having experienced military sexual trauma.
Directed by Sareen Hairabedian and produced by Jeffrey Wright (Emmy winner for HBO’s Angels in America, two-time Emmy nominee for HBO’s Westworld) and David Holbrooke (HBO’s The Diplomat), We Are Not Done Yet profiles a group of veterans and active-duty service members as they come together to combat past and current traumas through the written word, sharing their experiences in a United Service Organizations writing workshop.
The participants, who come from varied backgrounds and branches of the military, including the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy, share their fears, vulnerabilities and victories via poetry. In workshop sessions and rehearsals, men and women confront the best and the worst of their lives in the military, opening up about ongoing struggles with PTSD and the challenges of readjusting to civilian life. Each veteran and active-duty service member brings unique experiences and hardships to the stage, but they find common understanding and hope through the difficult work of addressing their pasts.
The project evolved from writing workshops led by poet Seema Reza, chair of Community Building Art Works, a charitable organization that develops arts programs for veterans and their communities.
Wright became involved in the project in 2016 after working with Theater of War, an organization that confronts social issues by conducting dramatic readings of Greek classics. This experience, combined with a visit to a Sierra Leone war zone, gave him a greater appreciation of the consequences of war and the effects of PTSD. Looking to be more involved, Wright was introduced to Reza and eventually came on board to direct the veterans in the stage production of their collaborative poems.
We Are Not Done Yet is directed by Sareen Hairabedian; produced by Jeffrey Wright, David Holbrooke; edited by Abhay Sofsky; co-produced by Patti Bonnet; music by Wytold. For HBO: executive producer, Nancy Abraham.