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Titles Announced for GI Film Festival San Diego’s Local Film Showcase Screenings

Local Film Showcase features San Diego filmmakers, locations, and actors; Awards celebration hosted by comedian Jamie Kaler; Presented by KPBS in partnership with the GI Film Group and Film Consortium

— KPBS, in partnership with the Film Consortium San Diego, announces a local film showcase for the inaugural GI Film Festival San Diego to be held on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. Hosted at UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center, the local film showcase features San Diego area filmmakers, locations, and actors. Selected films highlight local stories, people, bases, and the region’s military history.

"The Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center at SDSU is proud to support the GI Film Festival San Diego,” said Joan Putnam, director of the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center at SDSU. “The excellent films being showcased will provide an opportunity for a deeper appreciation and understanding of the great men and women who serve in all branches of America's armed forces.”

Wrapping up the first-ever GI Film Festival San Diego is a Closing Night Celebration Party and Local Film Showcase Awards Ceremony. Hosted by renowned stand-up comedian, actor, and former naval officer Jamie Kaler, guests will enjoy food, music, and entertainment by the “GI’s of Comedy.” Filmmakers will be in attendance.

“San Diego is a city with a burgeoning film industry and an established military community,” says Jodi Cilley, founder, Film Consortium San Diego. “The Film Consortium is dedicated to building up that local film industry and I believe that the military community provides a strong base of talent, crew, and stories that could sincerely help elevate and strengthen a film economy in our city.”

The GI Film Festival San Diego takes place Tuesday, Oct. 13 through Sunday, Oct. 18. All events are open to the public with special discounted opportunities for active duty military personnel and veterans. GI Film Festival San Diego events include a family-friendly screening on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum, a free career fair with workshops at Barracks 17 at NTC Liberty Station, and a closing celebration and award ceremony at DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego in Mission Valley at Hazard Center. General admission tickets are now available at the GI Film Festival San Diego website, www.GIFilmFestivalSD.org.

The GI Film Festival San Diego is sponsored by Qualcomm Inc., GEICO, National City Mile of Cars, and Lewis University with additional support provided by Scatena Daniels Communications. The festival is presented by KPBS in partnership with the GI Film Group and the Film Consortium San Diego.

As of Sept. 29, 2015, locations and descriptions of Local Film Showcase and Career Fair events are as follows. Please note that times, titles, and locations are subject to change. For a complete and up-to-date list of GI Film Festival San Diego events and screenings, please visit GIFilmFestivalSD.org.

Saturday, Oct. 17

• 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Career Fair, Workshops, and Screening at Barracks 17 at NTC Liberty Station. Featuring more than 20 businesses and organizations in education, media, technology, and the entertainment industry. Workshops on storytelling at 11:30 a.m. and filmmaking at 1 p.m. Includes screening of the featurette, “On Two Fronts: Latinos & Vietnam” at 12:30 p.m. FREE ADMISSION, NO RSVP REQUIRED

Sunday, Oct. 18

• 12 noon to 6 p.m.: Multiple screenings featuring Local Film Showcase and GI Film Festival selections at UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center. The Local Film Showcase will include fiction and non-fiction military-themed films made by veterans, active duty service members, and civilians. Many of San Diego’s military bases and military-focused organizations are represented. Filmmaker Q&A and panel discussions follow select screenings.

• 6 p.m.: Closing Night Celebration and Local Film Showcase Awards at DoubleTree by Hilton San Diego Mission Valley at Hazard Center. Join us for the exciting culmination of our festival! Hosted by renowned stand-up comedian, actor, and former naval officer Jamie Kaler, the closing celebration will feature food, music, and entertainment by the GI’s of Comedy. Filmmakers featured in the Local Film Showcase will receive awards in four categories: student film, documentary short, documentary feature, and narrative short.

San Diego Local Film Showcase Descriptions (in Alphabetical Order)

2014 Miramar Air Show Inside the MAGTF – USA – 9 minutes – Dir. MCAS Miramar Consolidated Public Affairs Office – 2013 – Documentary Short

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 2:30 p.m. – UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center.

Created to provide perspective on what spectators may witness during the MAGTF Demo at the 2014 Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Air Show, this film provides an inside look at how the Marine Corps operates during combat operations.

Aldo Giannini, Sergeant, United States Marine Corps, 1943-1946 – USA – 11 minutes – Dir. John Giannini – 2014 – Documentary Short

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m. – UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center.

This is the story of one soldier’s World War II experiences from his training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego to numerous landings in the Pacific to the occupation of Japan.

Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor – USA – 118 minutes – Dir. Ken and Betty Rodgers – 2014 – Documentary Feature

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 12:30 p.m. – UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center. Fifteen United States Marines and Navy Corpsmen reveal the agony and ecstasy of their service with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment at the Siege of Khe Sanh, Vietnam, 1968.

Down But Not Out: The Story of Forrest Lang – USA – 6 minutes – Dir. Brian Mahoney – 2014 – Documentary Short

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m. – UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center.

Down But Not Out: The Story of Forrest Lang profiles one veteran whose life has been plagued by misfortune. Enduring physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as a child, Forrest ran away and lived on the streets. He battled alcoholism, was sent to war, and suffered a tragic accident that changed his life forever. Forrest turned his life around and now gives back to his community and fellow veterans by helping those who have endured similar circumstances.

Finally a Voice: The Birth of the Vietnam Veterans of America – USA – 58 minutes – Dir. John Giannini – 2015 – Documentary Feature

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m. – UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center.

A decade after the last American troops left South Vietnam, veterans of that divisive and brutal war were still not receiving the care and benefits they had earned. The film tells the story of the founding convention of the Vietnam Veterans of America more than 32 years ago during a frenzied week in Washington DC, when hundreds of Vietnam veterans from all over the country gathered to seize control of their destiny.

Jack Lyon - Always Faithful – USA – 10 minutes – Dir. John Giannini – 2015 – Documentary Short

Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. – The Village Theatres in Coronado

Thirteen years after the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam and an arduous homecoming, Jack Lyon and four other vets formed the Vietnam Veterans of San Diego with the intent to serve the needs of their neglected Vietnam veteran community. Their program has since changed its name to the Veterans Village of San Diego to reflect what they have always been doing: helping restore the lives of all veterans in need. Jack offers physical and spiritual support to combat injured Marines at Balboa Naval Medical Center and stays true to the Marine motto, “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful).

She Wore Silver Sings plays during the GI Film Festival San Diego on Sunday, October 18, 2015 at 12:00 p.m.

She Wore Silver Wings – USA – 31 minutes – Dir. Devin Scott – 2010 – Documentary Short

Sunday, Oct. 18 at noon – UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center.

This true story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) is told through Jean Landis – a San Diego County resident who was part of this elite group. During World War II, brave women pilots were recruited to volunteer their services by ferrying fighter planes, test flying new and repaired planes, and towing targets in the air for artillery practice. The film also focuses on how the WASPs were formed, the incredible challenges they faced, and the cause of their early demise.

Taps – USA – 5 minutes – Dir. Darshan Kembhavi – 2015 – Documentary Short

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m. – UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center.

For over 150 years, military funerals in the United States have concluded with the playing of "Taps." At Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego, CA, a lone bugle player honors a departed serviceman at a Navy funeral.

The Kissing Statue Dedication – USA – 7 minutes – Dir. Tony Perri – 2013 – Documentary Short

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m. – UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center. This film documents the delivery and dedication ceremony of the famous Kissing Statue, located next to the USS Midway Museum in San Diego, CA.

The Reunion – USA – 6 minutes – Dir. Robert Nixon – 2014 – Narrative Short

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m. – UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center.

Following the memorial services of his grandfather – a World War II veteran, a young child gets a magical glimpse into his grandparent’s love story from the past. Once the soldier's uniform and her swing dancing dress finally come together, love never stops dancing.

Universal Dead – USA – 15 minutes – Dir. Vernon Mortensen – 2010 – Narrative Short

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 2:30 p.m. – UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center.

Planet Earth is ravaged by a strange disease that turns people into mindless murderers. As civilization struggles to survive, a small team of U.S. Navy SEALs must protect a doctor from the Center for Disease Control on a mission to evaluate the claims of an erratic scientist who may have discovered the secret to mankind's salvation. Starring DB Sweeney, Gary Graham, and Doug Jones.

War Torn – USA – 6 minutes – Dir. Alexander Ameen – 2015 – Narrative Short

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 2:30 p.m. – UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley at Hazard Center.

A young veteran named Mike returns home, deeply haunted by his memories of a war he wishes he could forget. When a coffee mug triggers a post-traumatic stress disorder episode in a local diner, Mike’s fiancée severs their relationship. His PTSD worsens and he begins reliving a harrowing moment from the past that spills into the present.

About GI Film Festival San Diego

The GI Film Festival, hosted annually in Washington DC, makes its first trip to San Diego and will feature a variety of films for, about, and by service men and women. The festival aims to reveal the struggles, triumphs, and experiences of the military through compelling and authentic storytelling.

GI Film Festival San Diego is part of an expanding KPBS initiative to better serve local military with meaningful content. Such content includes a four-part radio series called Incoming, which aired in May and featured stories written and narrated by local veterans. KPBS also contributes to the NPR series Back at Base, a multi-station collaborative chronicling the lives of U.S. troops in their local communities. By presenting the GI Film Festival San Diego, KPBS will continue to build on its military-related content and engagement programs.

KPBS Contact

Claudine Casillas

(619) 594-4266 | email

About GI Film Group

The GI Film Group is a full service media company dedicated to preserving the stories of military veterans. GIFG is the production entity behind the award-winning GI Film Festival (GIFF), a 501c(3), also known as “Sundance for the Troops,” which is held each May in Washington, DC. The festival is the first in the nation to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the service member through the medium of film.

About Film Consortium San Diego

The Film Consortium San Diego LLC is a social venture that stimulates film and television production in the region and increases networking, employment, education, funding and distribution opportunities in film, television and new media. The Film Consortium holds the Fall Film Festival, San Diego Film Awards, Winter Film Showcase, Summer at the Drive-in and various other screening and networking events.

About KPBS

KPBS serves the San Diego community with news and entertainment programming that respects our audience with inspiring, intelligent and enlightening content. KPBS delivers this content via multiple outlets, including television, radio, and digital media and will adapt and remain relevant in a rapidly changing world.

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