Somehow, in just eleven minutes, Oakland filmmaker Eric Escobar tackles and illuminates the biting and lingering human cost of war through his film, One Weekend a Month
, which won an honorable mention for short film at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The movie's protagonist is Meg McDermott (Reneé O'Connor of Xena: Warrior Princess
fame), a single mom who is struggling to juggle work and take care of her two young kids. Then, one Monday morning as she's getting her children ready for school, she gets a phone call that changes everything: Her National Guard unit will be deployed to Iraq in two weeks. We watch as Meg makes increasingly desperate phone calls to find someone to watch her children in her absence, and we begin to gain a sense of the jarring impact war can have on communities at home as well as abroad. Based on his experiences as the son of a Vietnam War vet, Escobar deftly discusses the depth of sacrifices families make for war without getting too preachy or mawkish. And there's more to come from Escobar on this tip -- he is currently raising funds for a feature film in which he plans to explore the effects of Meg's post-traumatic stress syndrome on her family when she returns from Iraq.