During our recent webcam interview (watch the exclusive video above), Lysa Heslov reveals she had no intention of making her directorial debut on “Served Like a Girl.” She explains, “I was interested in getting back into producing. I kept interviewing directors and for some reason I would find something wrong with them. I think that I just wasn’t looking at what was right in front of me, which was that I had already had an emotional connection with these women. I had already fell in love with them. I knew that I wanted to tell the story” about the documentary following five women who compete in the Ms. Veteran America contest, a fundraising event for homeless female veterans.”
Heslov, who produced such features as “Par 6” and “Bug,” hopes to shine a light on this under-documented problem with her film. “When we think about homeless veterans, we automatically think about a man possibly suffering from alcoholism or mental illness pushing a shopping cart,” she divulges. “We don’t think about the fact that women are coming back from combat with PTSD. They’re having a very difficult time transitioning back into civilian life, and they’re suffering. I think they really and truly are the unsung heroes.”
She describes talking with the veterans profiled in the film as, “one of the most life-changing experiences,” she’s ever had. “There were many times when it was heartbreaking,” she adds, “and I felt helpless, because all I could really do was continue to film them, and I couldn’t help them because I couldn’t change the narrative of the story. It was challenging… but we also had a lot of laughs and a lot of fun together.”
“Served Like a Girl” premiered at the 2017 South by Southwest Film Festival before playing at the Bentonville Film Festival, where it won the jury prize for Best Documentary. It opened in New York and Los Angeles on August 25th ahead of a US expansion. Check out our full interview above for more about Heslov’s work on the film.
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