Film: TOUGHER THAN A TANK (co-directed by Tim O’Donnell and Jon Mercer)

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by Lamont Williams on July 30, 2021

in Film

Executive Producer Academy Award® winner Casey Affleck and Pixela Pictura Films are releasing on August 3, 2021, their new documentary film, Tougher Than A Tank. The film examines the physical and emotional recovery of two veterans while exemplifying the need for community. See trailer here.

Noah Cass and Eddie Ryan are both Marines who sustained injuries while deployed in Iraq. While Noah’s injuries are mostly invisible, Eddie was hit by two 7.62mm rounds in the head rendering him immobile and with a severe Traumatic Brain Injury. In an attempt to relieve financial burdens and raise money for Eddie’s recovery, Noah embarks on a 145 mile run from his hometown in Somers, CT to Eddie’s in Lake George, NY. In turning to his all civilian training partners to assist with the run, Noah’s journey exemplifies the need for community and reveals the emotional, physical, and financial struggles many veterans face today.

As an advocate for veteran support, Affleck’s involvement with the film stems from his work as a dedicated activist and philanthropist pursuing the quiet war of changing the structure of veteran care.

“This is a cause that I really believe in,” said Affleck. “I like stories about ordinary people. I believe in the power of movies to reach people of a wide audience and show them just how relatable every single person is to one another, no matter how different their experiences are from our own. And this film is a perfect example of that kind of thing.”

Co-Director Tim O’Donnell said, “I was introduced to Casey by Nick Palmisciano, producer of this film alongside Jon Mercer and me. Nick’s marketing company, Diesel Jack Media, has been elevating the story in support of veteran advocacy. Nick had worked with Casey at veteran charity events and I never expected him to join the project given his stature. Though we were not a big Hollywood budget, he treated the film with the same tenderness and care of a blockbuster hit. It’s been an absolute pleasure. We’ve learned a lot, and I believe we’ve made a better film as a result of Casey’s tutelage.”

As a Boston based film production company, Pixela Pictura Films is closely connected with Affleck not only through the Beantown roots, but also through their years of work as civilians advocating for the veteran community, a passion visible through several of their other films. By sharing this story of reconnection, recovery, and running, Executive Producer Affleck intends to raise awareness and support for veteran advocacy by reaching diverse communities that might not typically watch this type of film. Tougher Than A Tank is co-directed by Tim O’Donnell and Jon Mercer, and produced by O’Donnell, Mercer, and Palmisciano. The film is released and distributed by Gravitas Ventures with support from Diesel Jack Media.


Connect with Pixela Pictura Films at:

About Co-Director Tim O’Donnell:
Tim O’Donnell is an Emmy-nominated and award winning documentary filmmaker. His work has appeared on ESPN, NBC, PBS, OutsideTV, CNN Films, Uninterrupted and events around the world. His film Not a War Story opened at #1 for all iTunes Documentaries and premiered at the Academy of Motion Pictures. His follow up feature Life Without Basketball opened to a sold out audience at DOC NYC and is being distributed by Gravitas Ventures and is available on Hulu and BET. HBO’s Mary Carillo said of Tim’s work, “The story is so beautiful, so lovingly told and so incredibly moving.”

About Co-Director Jon Mercer:
Jon Mercer is known for his ability to deconstruct a frame or narrative, employing a collaborative approach to distill essential elements and clarify underlying emotions. His work is a search for the unexpected and overlooked moments in a story – whether building drama, finding humor, or examining reality. As a director and editor his work has been broadcast nationally and creates lasting impact in educational and humanitarian sectors. Jon’s films have screened at festivals internationally and featured on PBS. His feature length directorial debut Life Without Basketball premiered at DocNYC in 2018 and was recognized by Human Rights Watch for its influence on global equality for athletes.

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