In BEYOND THE DIVIDE, audiences discover how a small-town art crime sparks furious passion and reignites animosity left unresolved since the Vietnam War. In this character-driven film surrounded by the natural beauty of Montana, Veteran Dan Gallagher and peace advocate Betsy Mulligan-Dague demonstrate how compassion, respect, and courage can heal old wounds and build a path to peace.
The political and emotional divides between active duty soldiers in Vietnam and the burgeoning peace community at home in the United States left deep scars unresolved, divided families and communities, and left simplistic descriptions of the two camps as either “warmongers” or “peaceniks.” Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) had yet to be recognized as a legitimate cognitive disorder brought on by the trauma of warfare, and returning soldiers were expected to assimilate into their former lives without counseling or consideration of the horrors they experienced.
The peace symbol, once an emblem of the anti-nuclear alliance, became the trademark of the hippie and anti-establishment movement. In Missoula, Montana, a group of people from the “wrong side of the tracks” decided to commit an act of civil disobedience by painting a peace symbol on the face of an enormous communications panel that sat atop a hillside overlooking the town. The reaction essentially divided the community between anti-war and military-establishment supporters.
BEYOND THE DIVIDE traces the aftermath of this act and follows the story of how two individuals, a former Vietnam explosives engineer, and a fervent peace advocate, come to a deeper understanding of each other’s differences through conversation and collaboration, finding the ideals they share are much stronger than imagined. While their philosophical differences remain unchanged, they discover their empathic capacities expand through the honest exchange of ideas and help to influence and inspire others in their Western community.
BEYOND THE DIVIDE speaks to the historical divide between veterans and peace advocates, yet the wisdom and leadership modeled by the two primary characters is especially timely as the United States faces historically significant political divides. Audiences will be inspired to take actions that are necessary at this fractious time in our country’s history. BEYOND THE DIVIDE could be a starting point for powerful conversations about civil discourse and healing.