Filmmaker Fridays: SABRINA LEE AND SHASTA GRENIER

 

Sabrina Lee and Shasta Grenier directed the documentary Not Yet Begun to Fight, a documentary about a group of veterans coping with different physical and psychological traumas who find healing through the art of fly-fishing. The documentary has won several awards at various film festivals and received remarkable reviews from Los Angeles Times and NY Times.  

 

1)  What inspired you both to document Not Yet Begun to Fight?  

When we learned about the work that Warriors and Quiet Waters was doing in the Fall of 2009, we were both incredibly moved. And inspired. What followed were many long discussions about the tens of thousands of men and women coming home, and how little we knew about their experiences and, more immediately, their lives once they returned. We felt like we needed to know more, and thought- and hoped – perhaps the public at large did, as well.  


2)  What kind of research did you both come up with before filming the documentary? 

We spent quite a bit of time with the Warriors and Quiet Waters, seeing how they operated and getting a sense of how we might tell the story through the veterans’ experience with the program. We also did a fair bit of research on PTSD, as we anticipated it would be a critical theme in the film and as well as something we should be sensitive to while filming.


3) How did you find the subjects of the film? 

The subjects were not hand-picked by us – they were the group who happened to be coming to Montana to attend the program the week we were scheduled to shoot. In fact, we met them for the first time at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego on the same day we started shooting the film!


4)  Not Yet Begun to Fight presents a powerful message on how difficult it is for some veterans to transition from war life to civilian life. What other findings did you both uncover while filming this documentary?  We were both struck by the fact that despite the traumatic physical and psychological injuries the veterans have suffered, they demonstrated an almost unfathomable optimism. And they often used humor to cope. We were glad that the film captured those elements.


5) Where you familiar with Warriors and Quite Waters before filming? How did you find out about the program?  We first learned about the work of Warriors and Quiet Waters at a local festival, and soon their mission became the catalyst for the film.


6) The documentary captures how fly-fishing can help veterans who are coping devastating psychological and physical injuries. What other messages were you hoping to capture while filming? While the film is about the impact of war and the veterans’ experience upon coming home, we hope it also tells a larger story about loss of identity, recovery, and the resilience of the human spirit.


7) Since filming Not Yet Begun to Fight, how has Warriors and Quiet Waters continued to support veteransThe program still brings 7-8 groups of injured veterans a year to the trout streams of Montana, and they are also continuing their work of supporting the spouses of veterans.  And they are expanding their program to include skiing and horseback riding. 

 

Watch Not Yet Begun to Fight online