Synopsis: "One More Christmas - The Shadow Man"
A Top 10 Finalist at the GI Film Festival 2015, “One More Christmas” is a coming home story that explores important themes around Post Traumatic Stress and recovery. The story also investigates the generational aspects of war and manhood while representing a return to family values. It also brings a strong morale message; that helping others is a way of helping yourself.
Leo Harper is a wounded warrior who struggles with recovery until he finds a connection with some Tejano veterans who make it clear that, “PTSD ain’t no excuse bro.” "You can't drink your problems away. You've got to find a new purpose for your life Mijo!" Leo gets it and begins speaking with his doctor about his life. We go back in time as he explains the story of his mother and how he was raised by his grandfather Vernon Bode.
Bode is a grizzly ole veteran with a soldier’s heart who grieves for his friend from Vietnam “Sugmanitu Tonka” (Big Wolf) who was a full blood Lakota warrior and is now the Guardian Angel who watches over the family. Bode lives by the tradition of the Wolf’s Code and after Leo’s mother passes away, Bode uses the code to teach Leo and his older brother to be men of their word, to treat others with respect and dignity. Bode teaches the young boys frontiersman-like self-reliance, to recognize love and what it means to be a warrior. “Did you know there are no orphans among wolves?”
After showing signs of improvement, the Army allows our wounded warrior to come home for Christmas. Surrounded by family, he finds love and starts to overcome the emotional scars of war as he and Bode explore their connection as fellow soldiers. They come to understand that part of themselves, the warrior within who is always there. “The Shadow Man is what the Indians called him.”
The extended Bode family gathers around fire and decorated tree in a visionary Christmas scene of long ago and images of those loved and lost appear faintly around them like after a summer rain, in the palest edges of a rainbow. Leo has come full circle having discovered his true purpose in life is to help others.
Smoke swirls from the chimney as cold wind howls and snow flurries shift across an icy pond. On the hillside, under snow draped evergreens, amorphous and diffused remembrances are shaped in stone. The sun sets; lights flicker and sparkle around farm and distant village. “We all pray for at least one more Christmas with those we love, with those who live in our memories, our hearts, and our soul.”