Statewide Storytelling Creates Community Impact

By Chris Baucom | NCACC Executive Producer and Video Creative Director

“We gave a lot, and we’re not asking much. We’re just asking for help in making sure that we take care of our own.”

Wake County Commissioner and United States Army and Air Force Veteran Don Mial in the NCACC documentary film, The Veteran’s Battlefield

As the lights go down in a room full of veterans, the screen shows a career military veteran who has been elected as a county commissioner. Then, the sound of his voice fills the air with words describing what veterans encounter and struggle through transitioning from military life back to civilian life. Their journey is worth telling because this story is important. It matters. The audience becomes a part of a powerful moment in the documentary. 

Another powerful moment in the life of a documentary is when local leaders are gathered together in a screening room. The screen shows a volunteer working at a food bank and telling a story about those in their community who are in need of healthy food and how the need is often greater than the resources available. The words are powerful, and the urgency to work harder is something that can be felt in the space at that moment. 

These are experiences shared throughout the state as North Carolina’s counties host documentary screening events to bring together community members searching for ways to address the issues impacting our state, such as veteran support and food insecurity. 

In 2021, the NCACC formed 100 Strong Productions to uncover the issues and highlight the stories of North Carolina and its counties using documentary films. As of March 2024, 100 Strong has produced two documentaries. The first film, Resilience: Food For All, released in 2022, tells the story of food insecurity in our state.

Resilience began as a pilot project and quickly turned into a critical communications tool, proving that this type of storytelling can surface the issues faced by our counties and state. The film was screened in several counties, culminating in a large screening event at NC State University’s James B. Hunt Library in Wake County in March 2023, with more than 300 in attendance. 

Screening events are great opportunities to feature a panel discussion where local stakeholders can have conversations about the issues in their local areas. The discussions can lead to multiple impactful outcomes, including renewed conversations and unique connections among those local stakeholders and community members. Resilience saw many worthwhile impacts come from its screening events, and the film won awards in an international competition. It reached thousands of viewers between in-person screening events and online distribution. 

After reaching success through its pilot project, 100 Strong released another film, The Veteran’s Battlefield, in 2023. It is the first full-length documentary film produced by 100 Strong, and it highlights the struggles veterans face when transitioning back to civilian life after their service to our country. It premiered in Wake County at the NCACC’s 2023 Annual Conference with 300 statewide county officials in attendance, as well as many veterans and veteran support workers. 

To date, The Veteran’s Battlefield has been screened in more than 20 locations in 15 counties across the state, with some events seeing up to 150 attendees. Those in attendance included veterans, community members, elected leaders, and local stakeholders. 

100 Strong used a newly developed screening model for the distribution of this recent film, which includes a toolkit to help guide counties with step-by-step instructions on how to set up a community screening. The toolkit equips counties with all the materials and guidance needed to host an event, including social media posts, graphics, poster designs and best practices for planning the screening.

The Association collaborated with New Hanover County to host a screening in November 2023 and, more recently, with Cumberland County in February 2024. The Cumberland County screening included a Veteran’s Resource Fair before the event where community non-profits and support organizations could connect with local veterans. Also, the resource fair provided an opportunity for the community’s non-profits to meet together and establish relationships with hopes to collaborate in the future.  

“When we talk about the challenges that veterans encounter, I think it’s important for the entire community to understand,” commented Cumberland County Board of Commissioners Chair Glenn Adams on a radio show promoting the screening event. “This is not just for veterans; this is for everybody.”

And the community showed up to the documentary screening in Cumberland County. Those in attendance included representatives of the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, state-level elected leaders, representatives of the Veterans’ Administration, county commissioners, veterans’ services officers, representatives of the local veteran’s treatment court, the local veteran’s council leaders, and more. 

“We want to thank NCACC for producing The Veteran’s Battlefield. With the highest concentration of veterans in the state, Cumberland County knew it was important to host a screening event to spotlight the resources and programs available in our county. The documentary’s message, audience feedback, and connections made during the evening were valuable for the groups represented and the individuals who attended,” said Cumberland County Chairman Glenn Adams.

The Veteran’s Battlefield was awarded the 2024 Spotlight Silver Award and selected as one of the top films of the year by the international competition Spotlight Documentary Film Awards based in Atlanta, Georgia. NCACC and 100 Strong are grateful to the awards committee for recognizing the film’s effort to raise awareness of the struggles faced by veterans returning home. 

County hosted screenings create an opportunity for veterans of all generations to find support through community partners, organizations, county resources, other veterans, and veteran’s services officers. The screenings also allow counties to showcase their investments in addressing pressing issues and increase community engagement and serve as a platform to bridge the dialogue between legislators, county leaders, and residents, fostering a sense of partnership and shared responsibility toward building a stronger community and state.

The Association will continue to partner with counties to host screenings and develop documentaries to highlight how county governments positively impact residents and shape the future of North Carolina.

Host a screening event in your county. To learn more about hosting a documentary screening event in your county, email [email protected].

Resilience: Food For

The Veteran’s

Learn more about NCACC’s 100 Strong Productions. A division of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, 100 Strong Productions endeavors to tell the untold stories of North Carolina through documentary films and various other video productions in support of the NCACC mission. To learn more about 100 Strong Productions, visit

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