Brian Delate served in the Vietnam War (1969) as a decorated non-commissioned officer and since 1980 has worked extensively in film, theatre and television as an actor. "Soldier’s Heart" represents his debut as a writer/director. As an actor, Delate has more than 24 films to his credit as well as 12 television series. He can be seen in the film/documentary of Salomaybe, starring and directed by Al Pacino, which follows the latest incarnation of the Los Angeles staging of Oscar Wilde’s "Salome", directed by Estelle Parsons, which was a reprise of the Broadway production Delate also appeared in.
Deleate refers to Soldier's Heart as a love letter to veterans and their families. A fellow veteran, who approached him after viewing a rough cut, said, ‘I’m glad you made this film the way you did, since it gave me room to think about my own story.’ I feel that my film is a good starter for any possible conversation about PTSD. So, to my fellow veterans, I say, Welcome Home and to everyone else, I humbly ask you to invite the conversation."
Brian in HIs Own Words
When I went to Vietnam at 19, I never anticipated that I would see, hear and feel many of the things that have now become part of me. In my one year tour, I had a variety of near-death experiences, and when I returned to the states, much of the person I left as, was gone and replaced by the physical, emotional and psychological makeup of a soldier. I experienced what many veterans of war experience, an extremely difficult and oftentimes impossible readjustment back into civilian life and society. As warriors in combat, each of us receives "invisible wounds" in our psyche that take a lifetime to overcome.
I didn't realize that I suffered from Soldier's Heart, what we now call PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), until decades after I came back from the war. It damaged me in ways that I could never have imagined, and effects me still. Like the 280,000 Iraq soldiers and hundreds of thousands more veterans who suffer from PTSD, I experienced the anger, depression and trauma of dealing with my invisible wounds.
As an actor, writer and director, part of my healing process of was to create the movie Soldier's Heart. Soldier's Heart is about a Vietnam vet Elliot's waking up to the present and his journey to a deeper self acceptance - with regard to the long term effects of soldiers with (PTSD) from the war and his relationships, to his family, wife and friends. In the process of creating this movie and sharing it with veterans, soldiers and their loved ones around the country, it has helped me to share my soldier's heart and heal my invisible wounds.
An interesting phenomenon happened when others watched my movie. Veterans saw the movie in much the same way as I felt in making it, Soldier's Heart and Elliot's story served as a way for them to begin opening up about their own soldier's heart. I received letters from around the country from viewers who like Elliot in the movie, shared their soldier's heart and used the movie as an opportunity for restoration from their wounds. I realize that Soldier's Heart is bigger than a movie, its also a guide for how veterans of combat can restore themselves through sharing their Soldier's Heart.
We built the Soldier's Heart Community on this principle, that through watching Soldier's Heart the movie, and reading about some of the soldier's heart that our community members have shared with us, we can help others in their quest for restoration.
Brian Delate's St. Crispin Day Speech, 2009