The Irritable Heart is an intensely personal documentary that explores the complex duties owed to both family and country by Marine Staff Sergeant Travis Twiggs. The film reveals the interplay between one soldier’s psychological breakdown and the complex relationship of two brothers that culminated in their bizarre and tragic deaths.
As has been well documented, large numbers of our veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from mental health issues related to their deployments. According to a recent RAND study, at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans have PTSD and/or symptoms of major depression. Travis developed PTSD during his 2005 tour in Iraq after two soldiers under his command were killed. He then became one of the most high profile marines to publicly discuss and write about his illness in an article entitled “The War Within”, which was published in the January 2008 edition of The Marine Corp Gazette, the corp’s monthly magazine.
However, the psychiatric treatment Travis received in the following years was largely ineffective and hampered by his own excesses. His symptoms of depression, paranoid delusions, and extreme anxiety devolved to the point of rendering it impossible for him to live a “normal” life. In May 2008, Travis left his home in northern Virginia and embarked on a journey with his brother Willard. Will had grown increasingly concerned over his brother’s condition while his own life drifted off course following Hurricane Katrina. The brothers spent several alcohol-fueled days in Louisiana before moving on to Arizona.
Through a series of mysterious events, which the film examines, their story ended on a desolate stretch of interstate in southern Arizona. The film is not an exposé on the military, nor is it on a quest for “the truth” about PTSD. Rather, its a journey through the labyrinth of shifting “truths” that unraveled within both a family and a marine who's battle never truly ended.
The Irritable Heart is currently in post-production. We will be launching an upcoming kickstarter campaign to raise the funds needed for additional editing, animation, music, and licensing. If you are interested in co-producing opportunities please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org