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Tamara Woods as Sgt. Diane Torres, Jillian Bullock, Writer/Director/Producer, John Quinlan as Captain Jake Nixon
Country of origin: United States
Running time: 80 minutes
Rating: R: Violence, offensive language, and sexual situations
Mastered format: 4K/3840x2160/23.98p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Official website: www.asenseofpurposemovie.com
Official facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asenseofpurposemovie/?fref=ts
Jennifer Alicia Sherman
Sara Osi Scott
Jody Austin Janice
Writer and Director
Director of Photography
First Assistant Cameraman
Stunt Double (Horses)
Body Double for Tamara Woods
Sgt. Diane Torres
Captain Jake Nixon
Pastor Haley Miller
Sgt. Eric Myers
Jessica Winters Nixon
Sgt. Riley Spellmen
Sgt. First Class Raymond Stein
Customer in Bar
The Bar Favorite
Esteban “Steve” Granados
A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives
An Army medic struggles to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and deals with carrying the baby of the Captain who sexually assaulted her. At the same time the Captain, who is dying from cancer, must confront his past.
John Quinlan as Captain Jake Nixon and Tamara Woods as Sgt. Diane Torres
For Some Veterans, the Real War Begins When They Return Home.
A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives follows the lives of two Army veterans - SGT. DIANE TORRES and CAPTAIN JAKE NIXON.
Diane is a medic, who returns home and struggles to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder and assimilate back into society after she has been raped by her commanding officer, Nixon, while stationed in Afghanistan.
One evening when Diane is out enjoying herself with a few drinks at a bar that is close to the military base, and she has a little too much to drink, she is offered a ride back to the base by her commanding officer, Nixon and three Army Sergeants. Back at the base Diane is raped by Nixon while the other men cheer him on.
Distraught, Diane begs Nixon for a discharge, but he refuses. Eventually, she takes matters into her own hands when she attempts to go AWOL. That plan is foiled by Nixon when he catches Diane and orders her back to the military base.
Diane finally gets discharged when her mother is killed in a car accident. Once home, Diane finds out she is pregnant with Nixon’s baby. Diane, who relies heavily on her religious faith, is conflicted. She doesn’t know how to deal with the emotional turmoil that comes from carrying the unborn child of a rapist. Should she keep the baby or abort it?
The aftermath of the rape, along with depression and PTSD, leads Diane to her neighborhood bar practically every night where she sits in a corner and drinks. Thinking all men are scum, Diane gets arrested one evening for beating up a guy who flirts with her in the pub.
Emotionally devastated, Diane decides the only way to alleviate her pain is to attempt suicide. She doesn’t die, but she is admitted into a mental health facility for observation.
Eventually, Diane’s life improves as she learns the tools to cope with PTSD when she starts going to counseling with PASTOR HALEY MITCHELL. She also takes riding lessons at the Bill Pickett Riding Academy and finds peace and relaxation grooming her horse at the stables. Overtime, Diane actually looks forward to becoming a mother despite how she got pregnant.
Meanwhile, Nixon continues to be a cocky, arrogant ass which he demonstrates when he is interviewed for a documentary on the military. When the interviewer, RICHARD ANDERSON, asks Nixon about military sexual assault, Nixon gets irritated to the point that he punches Richard in the face and storms out the room.
However, Nixon’s attitude begins to change when he learns he has prostate cancer and he is dying. Upon reflection of his life it is revealed that Nixon also suffers from PTSD not only from the horrors of war but also from being sexually assaulted by his foster father when Nixon was a child.
Not wanting to die alone, Nixon seeks out his ex-wife, JESSICA WINTERS, and tells her about the cancer. Jessica, who knows nothing about Nixon’s past, takes him back. Even though he only has less than a year to live, Nixon proposes to Jessica and she accepts.
As Diane’s life flourishes and she prepares for the birth of her child, Nixon’s health deteriorates. But it is the emotional pain of what happened to him as a child, what he had to do as a solider during war, and what he did to not only Diane, but to other women who served under his command, that he can’t live with anymore. Nixon commits suicide one evening by swallowing a bottle of pills.
Three years later, Jessica stills visits Nixon’s grave and puts flowers on the tombstone weekly. Diane is happy as she teaches her son about horses and he learns how to ride. She has found peace.
(Director Jillian Bullock, left, goes over scene with actors Joseph Hunter, Jennifer Alicia and Maddy Sinclair)
(Michael Pleasant as journalist Richard Anderson and John Quinlan as Captain Jake Nixon)
(John Quinlan is Captain Jake Nixon)
(Actors Michael Beason and John Quinlan go over their lines in script)
Jillian started production on the movie in December 2015. It took her a year to complete. The crew and actors worked mainly on weekends since everybody had a 9 to 5 job.
Jillian and her producers, Delayne Powe and Lamont Fountain, raised money for production through Indiegogo and their own money. Executive Producer, Joseph Hunter also played a big part in helping to raise the money. He organized three fundraisers and he also donated his own money.
(Director of Photography, Lamont Fountain, sets up shot with actor John Quinlan)
(Actors Sara Osi Scott, Joseph Hunter and Tamara Woods, rehearse a fight scene)
THE LEAD CAST
(Actors John Quinlan and Tamara Woods share a light moment)
Tamara Woods, who is an Air Force Veteran, portrays Sgt. Diane Torres, an Army Medic, who is raped by her commanding officer Captain Jake Nixon, portrayed by actor John Quinlan. Although Tamara is a seasoned stage and movie actor, (“For Better or Worse,” “Sure Looks Good,” “Death of a Salesman), John is a novice. He comes from a world of modeling and bodybuilding. He was a natural though from the first scene. With his Boston accent and bad boy look, he crafted his character to be one that audiences will hate, but will also learn to love despite the fact that he is a rapist.
(Lead Female Actor Tamara Woods and DP Lamont Fountain)
Tamara came to Jillian one day and announced she was two months pregnant. This was early in filming. It was great news for Tamara and her husband, but it presented a problem for Jillian as the writer and director. Jillian knew Tamara’s belly would get bigger over the next seven months and it wouldn’t match with the storyline. After giving it much deep thought, Jillian re-wrote parts of the script to include Tamara’s pregnancy. She added in the storyline of Sgt. Torres getting raped by her commanding officer and she gets pregnant, which fuels her PTSD and depression.
By time the movie wrapped Tamara had given birth to a baby girl.
When Jillian was ready to film the rape scene between Tamara’s character and John’s character, she was eight months pregnant. Of course, Tamara couldn’t do the rape scene so Jillian filled in as her body double.
Jillian has said it was difficult doing a tough scene, like rape, and direct. Four actors were actually involved in the rape scene, which made it even more difficult to direct, but since everyone was very professional, it made the scene a bit easier, at least for Jillian. Still, it was a closed set that day.
Jillian is the CEO/President of Jillian Bullock Enterprises, LLC, an empowerment and entertainment company based in Philadelphia, PA. As an award winning filmmaker, Jillian got her start in the industry when she was an intern on the set of Spike Lee’s movie, “Malcolm X.” She has gone on to work on her own projects and other filmmakers’ films as an actor, producer, writer, director, or fight choreographer. In her career so far, Jillian has sold two scripts, “The Champion Inside” and “Scar Across My Heart.” Since 2007, she has been a screenwriting judge for the Set in Philadelphia Screenwriting Contest, which is sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.
Delayne Powe has been Jillian’s partner in crime for 20 years. She is the producing partner for the company and she also works as the publicist.
Lamont Fountain, Director of Photography and Editor, first met Jillian a few months before they began filming. They met in a little diner in Havertown, PA and talked for hours about filmmaking and Jillian’s film project. It didn’t take long before the two of them were getting crew and actors together, and finding money for this project. Lamont, who is an award winning DP for his 2015 music video “Abandoned,” was so instrumental in helping the project get off the ground that Jillian added him to the producers’ team.
“A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives” was born about three-four years ago when I was looking to do a new film after I had been on hiatus for a number of years writing my memoir, “HERE I STAND.” I was watching “Sports w/Bryan Gumbel” when they featured a segment about military veterans who used mixed martial arts as a way to help them cope with post-traumatic stress disorder. As someone who trains in MMA I thought that would be the perfect story for me to tell. It took me two years to conduct interviews with veterans, therapists, and do extensive research on PTSD. It took me another six months to write the script.
Once I went into pre-production, however, I was doing more research and stumbled up a documentary entitled “The Invisible War” (http://www.invisiblewarmovie.com). This film centered on veterans who had been raped or sexually assaulted while they served in the military. I had no idea the problem was as rampant as it is. But as I did more research I became sickened by this epidemic that plagues the armed forces. Kirby Dick, the director of the award winning documentary “The Invisible War” stated, “sexual assault in the military is the most underreported significant crime in the country.” I agreed and changed the course of my movie.
To shed more light on this topic, I changed gears and re-wrote my script. “A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives” isn’t a documentary, but it is inspired by true events. Although I served in the military briefly and I never encountered sexual harassment of any kind, I was raped when I was eleven years old. As a result, I suffered with PTSD for several years. Eventually, with lots of counseling and training in martial arts, I was able to learn the tools necessary to help me cope with such a horrific experience. So, I could empathize with what these veterans had endured and what they was dealing with.
“A Sense of Purpose: Fighting For Our Lives,” hopefully, will speak for millions of veterans who don’t have a voice or who feel that no one is really listening to them, no one will help them and actually blames them for being attacked and raped. It is my intention that this movie will get people talking and through that dialogue then change will occur. The public needs more awareness of how PTSD affects millions of our servicemen and women. The decision makers in congress, government and the military need to watch this movie to understand that to have a stronger, better military the men and women who serve must be protected and they must feel safe.
It is my honor to produce and direct an entertaining, but educational, movie that will bring more awareness to topics (PTSD and military sexual assault) that too often gets swept under the rug.
Although I am the writer, director and producer this movie could not have been completed without my amazing team, producers Delayne Powe and Lamont Fountain, and the other amazing crew members and cast I had the honor to work with. Plus, the sponsors, support from family, friends, and veterans, plus the financial support from Joseph Hunter and Roger Fountain. I get the accolades as the director and this is my film, but in my heart it “our” film. I am grateful for the love.