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A film about a military couple’s efforts to deal with a devastating combat injury and conceive a baby has snagged an award at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival.
“The Next Part,” a 17-minute documentary about Kathleen and retired Army Sgt. First Class Aaron Causey, earned a special jury mention at the top festival — just one of three given in a field of 58 short films.
The award, announced Thursday, came as a surprise to Kathleen, who has cared for her husband since he lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2011 while trying to dismantle a roadside bomb that exploded.
“We were just happy to have been a part of this film. But to win an award, it’s incredible, especially considering the youth of the director,” Causey said.
Director Erin Sanger, 23, is a 2012 New York University Tisch School of the Arts graduate. “The Next Part” is her first documentary.
The film was first conceptualized by Chris Ferguson, who co-founded an IT and multimedia company with a retired Navy explosive ordnance disposal master chief who is involved in wounded warrior philanthropy.
Ferguson said the idea was to call attention to a little-known or understood consequence of war. “We really thought there was this powerful and untold story about the strength and resilience of caregivers that needed to be shared,” he said.
Ferguson approached Kat and Aaron while Aaron was still on active duty receiving medical treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.
The couple said they agreed to do the film because they hoped to reach general audiences who may be unfamiliar with military caregivers and the stress couples face after life-changing injuries.
Now that “The Next Part” has been recognized at Tribeca, it is more likely to be selected in the coming months for screenings at other film festivals, further broadening its reach.
“We are very excited, to say the least!” Ferguson said.