Holy Cross Father Richard Berg, author of the book “Scars,” and playwright Roccie Hill, who wrote an adaptation of the book for the stage, take notes on a production of the play at the Lakewood Theater in Lake Oswego in 2017. “Scars” is the story of how many Americans, in particular veterans, are now living with post-traumatic stress. It has now been adapted for the screen, with production costs being raised. (Kristen Hannum/Catholic Sentinel)
Holy Cross Father Richard Berg, author of the book “Scars,” and playwright Roccie Hill, who wrote an adaptation of the book for the stage, take notes on a production of the play at the Lakewood Theater in Lake Oswego in 2017. “Scars” is the story of how many Americans, in particular veterans, are now living with post-traumatic stress. It has now been adapted for the screen, with production costs being raised. (Kristen Hannum/Catholic Sentinel)
Holy Cross Father Dick Berg’s book “Scars — The Effects of Post-Traumatic Stress on Family, Relationships and Work” may be coming to a theater near you soon.

And, perhaps even more importantly, to mental health clinics across America.

“It’s an important message,” said Jordan Kough, part of the coalition working to produce the film. “You never get over it. You get on with it.”

Father Berg, a psychologist, wrote the book, published in 2013, after talking with nine men who were living with post-traumatic stress and TBI (mild traumatic brain injury). They were combat veterans whose physical wounds had largely healed, and yet they found themselves living with emotional scars that would last a lifetime.

Father Berg told them he wanted to write their stories.

“I’m really drawn to them — my heart is like a magnet to people who are hurting,” he told the Catholic Sentinel in 2017. “I guess that’s my journey.”

Not only were the men in pain, but also their families, friends and loved ones. One of them committed suicide a couple months after telling his story to Father Berg.

After the book was published, psychologists began telling Father Berg they wished it were a dramatic production they could share with people in therapy.

Father Berg and Ben Cobb, a therapist with the Cedar Hills Military Program, along with several others created a group called Post Traumatic Stress Theater, a package that veterans’ facilities and clinics could use that includes Scars and the principles of drama therapy.

Money is now being raised to make the book into a film.

A screenplay, based on the book and written by Shaun Kosta, an award-winning writer, director and filmmaker, tells the story of a medic suffering with PTSD. He returns to Oregon from war in Afghanistan and tries to save his family’s vineyard and himself.

Suzanne DeLaurentiis is producer of the film and a mostly Oregon-based coalition is raising the funds necessary.

Kough, a non-profit fundraising advisor, is working with the group, looking for donors interested in giving $500 or more to bring the film to life.

“There couldn’t be any more relevant a time to tell a story like this,” said Kough, who added that there has been significant response to the “Scars” play, and that he believes a film will be even more important — “To show it in a thousand places on the same night.”

Kough, who has worked with the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation and the Disability Rights Legal Center, said Father Berg won him over to the project.

“Father has a real presence and determination to see projects through,” he said. “It’s an ability to build coalitions around suffering in a unique a powerful way.”