By Dylan Deprey
A parade of extravagant dresses, tuxedos and flashing cameras will relocate from the Hollywood strip to our own city of Milwaukee. This month, the red carpet will be rolled out for the premiere of the comedy film Civilian Life.
Civilian Life follows Sergeant Major Lorraine Hamm (Ruth Trope) as she is thrust back into life as a regular citizen. After years of doing what she knows best — killing — Hamm is put on mental distress leave from the Marines for post traumatic stress disorder. Upon returning to her hometown of Milwaukee, she finds that life on the battlefield might be easier to comprehend than civilian life.
Her welcome home ends abruptly as she has to deal with the many family issues that she missed since being away. Her husband Dexter (Lahmard J. Tate) is trying to steal all her assets by convincing the community that she has gone completely insane and needs professional help.
Her nephew Milton Jr. (Joshua Allen-McConnell) can’t protect himself from constant bullying at school.
On top of all that, Hamm’s daughter Joy (Venise Watson) and her boyfriend drop a bomb that even the hardened veteran can’t defend herself from: they are engaged.
With the help of her family, Hamm grapples with mental illness, change, and betrayal. With luck and some help, she’ll try to fit back into civilian life.
Rubin Whitmore II and Kent Jamison, writers of Civilian Life, found that there hasn’t been a female soldier as a lead character in any Hollywood film. After conversation and brainstorming, they also noticed that many people don’t know the mental stress soldiers go through when returning from war.
“We wanted to touch on the PTSD problem because a lot of people don’t know about it,” Jamison said. “We need to spoon feed people on what it’s like adjusting to normal life.”
Kent Jamison and Rubin Whitmore II also made the film to connect with veterans in the same situation.
“We want to help people identify with someone if they themselves need help,” Jamison said.
This is Whitmore II and Jamison’s third collaborated film based primarily in Milwaukee. They filmed throughout the city, at places like Humboldt Park, downtown, Brown Academy, and even some private residences.
“It isn’t a city that’s fully noticed in cinema,” Jamison said. “People would come up and ask us questions, but that is what we want.”
They also opened the door to local actors and actresses.
“We want to give talent and opportunity to the town but associate Hollywood with Milwaukee,” Jamison said.
Next, the filmmakers want to see Civilian Life the Movie hit big screens mationwide, much like their last success, Role Play (2014). They are seeking out a film distribution company that will take the film on and make it accessible throughout the country.
The debut premiere for Civilian Life the Movie, will take place at the AMC Mayfair Theater on November 17th at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Those with military identification can have an early viewing of the film on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11th..
“We hope people enjoy the movie and its entertaining story,” Jamison said.