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11-04-2013

Movie Highlighting Female Veteran Directed by Clarkson University Professor Premieres Nov. 11 in Potsdam

At the start of each semester, Clarkson University Film Professor Brian Hauser notices an odd distinction among male and female veterans in his classes.

NonTraditional"I can usually tell within a couple minutes: the haircut, how they walk, where they choose to sit in my classes. And once they say 'sir,' I know," Hauser, himself a veteran, says of male vets. "Among the women in my classes, I can't tell who's a vet. They usually don't bring it up until we're well into the semester and I've mentioned my time in the military."

Hauser wanted to bring female veterans' stories to the forefront in Nontraditional, a film that follows 26-year-old Erika Byrd, a female combat veteran starting her freshman year in college. The world premiere of Nontraditional, which Hauser wrote and directed, is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. on Veteran’s Day, November 11, at Cinema 10 in Potsdam's Roxy Theater. Christina Xydias, an assistant professor of political science at Clarkson, co-produced the film with Hauser.

Most of the movie was filmed on or near the Clarkson campus over the summer and features several local cast members. Editing wrapped up recently and the film is being submitted for possible screenings at several film festivals across the country.

In the movie, Byrd believes college will be easier than her recent tour of duty in Afghanistan. But she struggles to connect both with her classmates and her professors.

"We know that some returning soldiers can face unexpected challenges," Hauser said. "They've just left a highly regimented world where they’re in extreme danger most of the time. Once they're home -- with family and friends, going back to work -- they have to navigate a social structure that’s extremely ambiguous, at the best of times. It's not easy for most people, whether they're military or not."

Hauser says he hopes the movie can shed more light on the lives and struggles of female combat veterans.

"We're telling a story that hasn’t been told," Hauser says, "and it's about people our society doesn't really see. This movie could change that."

More information on Nontraditional can be found at https://www.facebook.com/nontraditionalthemovie.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

(A photograph for media use is available at http://clarkson.edu/news/photos/nontraditional.jpg . )

Photo caption:  Nnamdi Ubozoh, playing Todd Clark, and Lise "Kat" Evans, playing Erika Byrd, star in Nontraditional, which will debut at Cinema 10 on Veteran's Day. Clarkson University Professor Brian Hauser wrote and directed the film.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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