GI Film Festival
|GI Film Festival|
The GI Film Festival was founded in 2006 by husband and wife team Brandon L. Millett and Major Laura Law in response to the lack of quality films portraying American service members. It is the first film festival of its kind and is held each May during Armed Forces Month in Washington, D.C.
The mission of the GI Film Festival is "to honor the successes and sacrifices of the American men and women in uniform and the world wide struggle for freedom and democracy, to preserve the stories of the American Veterans, and to train and educate veterans about the entertainment industry." The GI Film Festival is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.
The week long event brings together noted people from the American film industry, Congress and the military. The Festival's program line-up offers moviegoers a wide variety of independent films including documentaries, narrative features, and shorts, as well as a program of panel discussions.
- Inauguration of the GI Film Festival.
- General (Ret.) Richard Myers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hosted a special screening of Forrest Gump.
- Film screenings presented by noted Hollywood actors and directors, including Gary Sinise, Jon Voight, Robert Duvall, James Franco, Ron Maxwell, Lou Reda, and Terry Sanders.
- 22 military film premiers featuring the work of promising new filmmakers.
- A congressional reception honoring members of Congress who served in the military.
- The presentation of the "Corporate Patriot Award", to World Wrestling Entertainment and Vince and Linda McMahon for their philanthropic work on behalf of the American Armed Forces.
- An Armed Forces Action Fest at Bolling Air Force Base featuring World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stars and former Buck Rogers television actor Gil Gerard.
- Panel discussions, including "The 100 Greatest War Films of All-Time"; "War Stories", featuring Medal of Honor recipients; and "The Portrayal of GIs in Film and the Media".
- The third festival was attended by several notable people including US Senator John McCain and Kelsey Grammer.
- The fifth festival was attended by actors Gary Sinise, Lou Diamond Phillips, and William Devane, producer Rick Benattar, and director Jonathan English.
- The sixth festival was attended by Ross Perot. Also attending was actor Joe Mantegna, Wheel of Fortune's Pat Sajak. Actress Sally Pressman and Brian McNamara from the cast of Army Wives received the GI Family Award.
- Feature Narrative: Divergence – A tale told through the microcosm of two wounded people coming together and grappling with the ramifications of war and loss. The film's production team included Patrick Donnelly (Writer/Director) and Meg Sudlik (Producer).
- Documentary Short: Shakey's Hill – In 1970, one cameraman followed a battalion of American soldiers into the jungles of Cambodia. The mission was to seek out substantial weapons/supplies caches being used by the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War. As the battalion closed in on the location of the caches, they encountered a growing resistance from the North Vietnamese forces. The film's production team included Norman Lloyd (Director).
- Best Short Feature: Old Glory – A 22-minute film short for the soldier, veteran and patriot in us all. James McEachin customarily salutes America with another dose of extraordinary patriotism in his directorial debut. The film's production team included James McEachin (Director/Actor).
- Feature Documentary: Speed & Angels – In 2003, Director Peyton Wilson entered the world of U.S. Navy fighter pilots. Thanks to unprecedented access granted by the Navy, Peyton captured and created the most intimate film ever made on fighter pilots. Epic High Definition aerial footage and stunning cockpit photography provide a dramatic backdrop for the larger story of fighting for your dreams. The film's production team included Peyton Wilson (Director) and F.A. Chierici (Producer).
- Founder's Choice: Patriot Act – Inspired by the passing of USO perennial Bob Hope, Friars Club roast-master Jeff Ross takes actor/comedian Drew Carey up on an invitation to join the USO in their ongoing mission - delivering punch-lines on the front lines. The film's production team included Jeff Ross (Director).
- GI Spirit Award: Gary Sinise – Recipient of the 2007 GI Film Festival GI Spirit Award. Gary Sinise is an accomplished film, theater and television actor, as well as a director and producer. In addition to his success in the entertainment field, Gary Sinise also uses his considerable talents to support troops stationed overseas. Along with his Lt. Dan Band (named for his character from Forrest Gump), Sinise has embarked on numerous USO/Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) tours. He has also traveled to both Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the National Navy Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, to visit troops wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
- Feature Narrative: Soldier's Heart – Vietnam veteran Elliot has held it together until now, but he is forced to redesign his blueprint for living. Old feelings about his experience as a soldier in the Vietnam War re-appear affecting and concerning his wife Linda, his parents and fellow veteran Richie. Certain truths of Elliot's war experience emerge with heart and humor to provide a deeper understanding of his father (a World War II vet) - forge a new path in his marriage to Linda and realize his bond with Richie. The film's production team included Anthony Lover (Executive Producer).
- Documentary Short: Spitfire 944 – An 83-year old World War II pilot views 16mm footage of his 1944 Spitfire crash for the first time. The film's production team included William Lorton (Producer/ Director) and Jason Savage (Producer).
- Narrative Short: God and Country – Spring, 1942. The world is at war. Hitler has swept unchecked across the European landscape and pounds at the doors of Great Britain. The United States learns of a plot by the Germans to break the stalemate with Great Britain using a diabolical new chemical weapon. With time against them a team of three Americans are asked to put their lives on the line and make the ultimate sacrifice...for God and Country. The film's production team included Daniel Piatt (Director/Executive Producer), Leslie Sewell (Associate Producer) and Macario Hernandez (Associate Producer/Assistant Director).
- Feature Documentary Winner: Brothers at War – Jake Rademacher--with a desire to learn the truth, journeys to Mosul, Iraq and embeds with his brother Captain Isaac Rademacher’s Long Range Surveillance Company. While documenting their covert mission on the Syrian Border, he learns first hand about the grueling nature of soldiering, and the familiar bonds that develop between them. Brothers at War gives both an up close and personal view of our soldiers, and a deeply personal view of a family divided, but ultimately, profoundly bonded by the crucible of war. The film's production team included Jake Rademacher (Director/Producer), Norman S. Powell (Producer), Gary Sinise (Executive Producer) and David Scantling (Executive Producer). With an original score by Lee Holdridge and an original song--"Brothers in Arms"--by John Ondrasik.
- Family Film: The Flyboys – Jason (Jesse James) and Kyle (Reiley McClendon), recent friends from different sides of the tracks, become embroiled in the adventure of their lives when they discover a mysterious airplane at the local small-town airport. The boys sneak aboard the plane for a look, but are forced to hide in the luggage compartment when two strange men show up. Soon Jason and Kyle unexpectedly find themselves airborne over the open Arizona desert. After hours in the air, the boys unwittingly uncover a bomb in the luggage compartment. When they burst into the cabin to report their discovery, they find that everyone on board has bailed out. The boys must take the controls and land the plane themselves. But their troubles are only beginning as Jason and Kyle realize that they've foiled a heist to steal millions of dollars from the mob in this high-action, coming-of-age film. The film's production team included Rocco DeVilliers (Director) and Dan Urness (Producer).
- Founder's Choice: The Last 600 Meters – The two deadliest battles of the Iraq War occurred in 2004. The Battle of Najaf was fought in the South against the Shiite Mahdi militia. The Battle of Falluja was fought in the West against Sunni insurgents. These brutal urban conflicts were not the high-tech battles the military had prepared for after the first Gulf War in 1991—but they are the face of modern warfare. This film tells the story of these battles, not through narration, but through the words and deeds of those who fought there. The film's production team included Michael Pack (Producer/Director), Gina Pack (Executive Producer) and Leslie Sewell (Coordinating Producer).
- American Pride Film: SWIM – As a Pararescueman in Iraq, David Broyles's job was to save lives and help those in need, and after leaving the military in 2005, he wanted to continue that mission. He soon found Salute America's Heroes, a charity that provides assistance to severely wounded and disabled veterans. To raise funds and awareness for their needs through this charity, he wanted a tough challenge in their honor. David soon discovered that fewer Americans had swum across the Strait of Gibraltar than had reached the top of Mount Everest. The film's production team included Chantz Hoover (Co-Director/Co-Producer), Gina Pack (Executive Producer) and Matt Cook (Executive Producer).
- Feature Documentary - Perfect Valor
- Feature Documentary Runner-Up - Bedford: The Town They Left Behind
- Best Narrative Feature - Everyman's War
- Founder's Choice Award - The Triangle of Death
- Best Documentary Short - A Touch of Home
- Best Narrative Short - Witt's Daughter
- Best Student Film - Kapisa
- Best First Time Filmmaker - The Inheritance of War
- Best Military Family Film - Lioness
- Best Short Film - Looking Back
- Military Channel Award - Shepherds of Helmand, directed by Gary Mortensen
- Best International Film - The Telegram Man (Australia), directed by James Francis Khehtie
- Best Student Film - Thule, directed by Robert Scott Wildes
- Best Narrative Short - A Marine’s Guide to Fishing, directed by Nicholas Brennan
- Best Documentary Short - Last to Leave, directed by Pat Clark
- Best Narrative Feature - Flag of My Father, directed by Rodney Ray
- Best Documentary Feature - Patrol Base Jaker, directed by David Scantling
- Founder’s Choice Award - The Wereth Eleven', directed by Robert Child
- Best Short Short - Fallout, directed by Peter Carruthers
- Best Student Film - Choice, directed by Michael Chan
- Best International Film - Gefallen, directed by Christoph Schuler
- Best Narrative Short - The Fifth Horseman, directed by Kari Barber (VFX Reel)
- Best Documentary Short - The Real Inglorious Bastards, directed by Min Sook Lee
- Best Documentary Feature - Honor Flight, directed by Dan Hayes
- Founder’s Choice - 16 Photographs at Ohrdruf, directed by Matthew Nash