In the movie Blood Stripe, Our Sergeant (Kate Nowlin) returns home to a small town in Minnesota, having just completed her third tour with the Marines in Afghanistan. But this time, her usual homecoming rituals with her husband (Chris Sullivan) and her family give Our Sergeant no solace. Unable to sleep, wracked by paranoia and anxiety, it is clear that in addition to the shrapnel scars she bears on her torso, Our Sergeant carries unseen wounds. It is only a matter of time before she can no longer bottle up her trauma and a boisterous welcome home party provokes her into an explosive outburst. Her husband is at a loss, the VA seems an impossible option. Our Sergeant has nowhere to turn, and so she runs… deep into the North Woods.
Discovering a picturesque summer camp on the shores of Lake Vermilion, Our Sergeant seeks refuge with the plainspoken overseer, Dot (Rusty Schwimmer) as she closes down the place for the season. In the quiet company of Dot and a visiting minister, Art (Rene Auberjonois), Our Sergeant works at the camp and at first finds solace and some distance from her past. But she cannot outrun her own heart of darkness and, as paranoia overtakes her, the pristine wilderness becomes fraught with peril. In her deepest need, Our Sergeant turns to a fisherman who lives on the lake – a solitary figure with scars of his own (Tom Lipinski). When their smoldering connection ignites, Our Sergeant is spun so violently out of herself, she may never return.
The film received the U.S. Best Fiction Feature Film Award at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival. Additional accolades include: The Audience Award at the 2016 Austin Film Festival, The John Schlesinger Award for First-Time Filmmaker at the 2016 Provincetown International Film Festival, and both the Audience Award and the Indie Vision Breakthrough Performance Award at the 2016 Twin Cities Film Festival.