CBAW & Wounded Warrior Project’s documentary nominated for Best Documentary Short and Women’s Voice Awards at the GI Film Festival, San Diego.

In July 2022, Wounded Warrior Project and Community Building Art Works brought together 12 caregivers of severely wounded veterans at a six-week virtual poetry workshop that culminated in an on-stage performance in Washington, D.C. “We Carry On” follows the caregivers as they prepare to take the stage, perform their collaborative poem and reflect on their shared experiences.

Nominated for Best Documentary Short and Women’s Voice Award, “We Carry On” screens on Tuesday, May 7 at 5:00 p.m. as part of “Documentary Shorts: Veterans, Allies and Caregivers.”

Community Building Art Works is honored to be in attendance. Click here to purchase tickets.  


FILMMAKER SPOTLIGHT (Courtesy of GI Film Festival)

Meet Sareen Hairabedian

Meet Sareen Hairabedian

In this filmmaker spotlight, we highlight Sareen Hairabedian and her second feature at GIFFSD, with her film, “We Carry On”. This film is a beautiful tribute to caregivers, mixing spoken word performance and documentary filmmaking. The film makes its world premiere on Tuesday, May 7 at 5:00 p.m. as part of Documentary Shorts: Veterans, Allies and Caregivers.

Below is an expanded version of the above video interview, shared with GI Film Festival newsletter subscribers, on April 23rd, 2024.

Q. What is your film about?

A. “We Carry On” is a short documentary that follows 12 caregivers as they come together in Washington D.C. to rehearse and perform a collaborative poem about their shared experiences as caregivers to their severely wounded veterans. The poem becomes a tool for empowerment and unity between these caregivers that come from different parts of the country.


Q. What do you want audiences to know about your film?

A. Through this film, we want the audience to closely observe the power of poetry and writing when it is practiced in the community.


Q. How are you connected to military service?

A. As a documentary filmmaker, I’m gravitated to telling stories of war and what war does to people, especially to the most vulnerable in our society. In 2018, I directed a short documentary called “We Are Not Done Yet” for HBO, which follows the journey of veterans who use art to heal. Since then, I’ve been working on my first feature-length documentary “My Sweet Land,” a coming of age story about an 11-year old boy as he journeys through war, displacement and eventually exile from his homeland Artsakh, a region in the Southern Caucasus, located between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which has been the subject of war between these two countries for the past three decades.


Q. What was the last movie you saw on the big screen?

A. The last film I watched on the big screen is called “Four Daughters.” It was a unique cinema experience, where the subjects are acting in the documentary to confront their past and retell their stories of sisterhood, rebellion, hope and transformation.


Q. Why do you think films are important?

A. Film is important because it’s a tool that builds empathy. In today’s day and age, we’re charged with so many visuals that flatten the human experience into a scroll or a swipe. Films introduce the complexity of our human experience. They invite the audience to empathize, and to build understanding at a time where it seems that there is more in this world that divides us than connects us as humans.