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KPBS Midday Edition

GI Film Festival Comes To San Diego

GI Film Festival Comes To San Diego
GI Film Festival Comes To San Diego
GI Film Festival Comes To San Diego GUESTS: Bob Lawrence, member, GIFF Advisory Committee San Diego Paul Katis, director, "Kilo Two Bravo"

This is the midday edition. I am Maureen Cavanaugh. With our things long standing history with the military you might about San Diego Buddha posted this before. Surprisingly the nation's only military felt Festival is coming to San Diego for the first time this week. It is called the GI Film Festival. It features dramas, documentaries, and short films spanning a range of military experiences. KPBS is partnering with the G.I. film group and the San Diego film contortion to present the Festival. Joining me is Bob Lorenz -- Bob Lawrence. Welcome to the program's. -- Thank you very much. Paul Katis is also here. Paul, welcome. Why is is the first year for this festival? That is a million-dollar question. This thing is about 10 years old. They do something in San Francisco once and I think something in Los Angeles that make sense. San Diego is by far the largest military active and retired in the country. This is a natural place for this film Festival to come. I think those who go to when and I hope a lot of people will. The kickoff film is unbelievable. It should have a tremendous impact in San Diego. We've reported on and I've reported on for years. I made it one of my goals that 1% are indirectly or directly involved in the military. That was true here in San Diego and across the country. That met 99% were not. I took it upon myself and let -- through these films you can experience them as well. Give us an idea of the range of fields that are going to be screened? You will see in a Kilo Two Bravo it is almost like a first-person account of the British troops. Maybe Americans might be surprised that there were British troops. This was a coalition effort in Afghanistan. They were -- if you remember documentary called [ Indiscernible ]. It was an Army unit in the Valley. This is a British unit that was near [ Indiscernible ]. It really does put you in their boots as to what it was they experienced. You captured it beautifully. It is an amazing short film. It is -- of this about veterans, it's about four veterans and some may their own because they have the story to tell other directors producers wanted to get that story out. One of the panels I'm hosting goes back to World War I. It is a unit that I've never heard of. They call it the millionaires unit. These boys from Gail decided we are going to fly to the United States will we get into World War I. So there was a re-creation there. There are narrative dramas, documentaries, short films. It is a whole host of various explorations of the military. For zombie fans there is also one of those. Trust me at the festival you will see a. Paul, your film Kilo Two Bravo starts off the festival tomorrow night. It has to do with what Bob was telling this. I will incident of British soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. We were at the Washington film Festival and that was a fantastic event. So Kilo Two Bravo is with Jackie Chan. It is about British troops overlooking the dam. The cyber spotted a little bit of Taliban activity out of range and it took three men off the ridge down to go and see what was going on. In the process they had to cross out a dried out riverbed at the bottom of the bridge. When one of them stepped on a legacy Russian mine that a been there from a previous conflict. His colleagues all came down on the hilltop to try and help. They enter the mind to try and help them and the story revolves from their. They get trapped within a minefield. We have a clip of the film. Let's play that now. [ Playimg a movie clip ] That's from Sara Wan -- Kilo Two Bravo. That's been screened tomorrow at the GI Film Festival in San Diego. Paul, why did you want to tell the story? It's interesting. It's like that in the US is even more like that in the UK. This war was going on for about seven years. Been stretched to 13 -- then stretched to 13. -- It's called a [ Indiscernible ] going on. What was it like for the guys. I came across some young soldiers one was 17 and just turned 18 when I was working with them. He couldn't grow a mustache. He was going to Afghanistan. He knew nothing of what his life was going to be like. Then I realized that the British does it make any films that all. Some say that Harrison died out in 1945 in the UK. So I determined to find a story to put it started together. This film has a disclaimer that include strong language, bloody injury detail, so who should see this film? That's an interesting question. One reviewer said it is for people that don't like Gore because this is what goes on. The whole reason for making the film was to bring a genuine authentic war experience to an audience that normally get it. That is especially true. Summer think that I had covered as well. In 2010, the third fifth Marine right of Camp Pendleton went into Afghanistan to clear it out. British troops have left. It was by arrangement that Marines were going to go in and they got absolutely hammered. One of the things that I've done doing that time period was cover 35 the folks who wanted to come home. And that little clip that we just heard, what you heard -- you can present up with the Marine unit sailors, it doesn't matter. It was about brothers helping other brothers. Your fighting there for the person on your left and the person on the right. You can hear that in that click or go no you are not going to do that. The same was true for Marines who were her in injured coming back to Camp Pendleton. Really think he wanted to do was go back. We have some local films that are being showcased at the film Festival. A lot of films that a lot of local talents as well. We have a quit -- clip from one. It is called she wore silver wings. [ Playimg a movie clip ] That sounds like the memory of a flyer from World War II one of the female flyers. They did -- it's almost to what a lot of the women were doing today. They were flying. Now it's involved in the women. Until that change, they were doing service issue. Driving trucks, flying the planes, getting supplies. That's what these women did hear. We get to highlight -- it was the the women 99s. So a big tribute to the women who also took part in the war besides the [ Indiscernible ] who went to work in those place like that. Paul, I know that a lot of vets don't think that movie show what war and services really like. How accurate did you strive to make your film Kilo Two Bravo ? It's a two-story. We track down all the guys. They delivered an awful lot of what's in the script. Is taken verbatim pretty much. Having done that we felt sort of attached to them in a way and wanted to make it as honest as possible. So throughout the process we were in touch with them and pick up the phone if we could just check abysses right? It is authentic. That -- that gave me a taste of what it was like to be there. I want to make the point to, Bob that these are all gung [ NULL ] military fields. Your screening the documentary debt of honor. Tell us about that. There is another one there that I personally am going to be on a panel on Sunday. That was bravo common men uncommon valor. It goes back -- it's also related to the Vietnam era. If you're not part of the military, or just don't know or don't follow it -- uncommon valor another powerful film done. It was about the siege in Vietnam. Camp Pendleton Marines were heavily involved in it. We know what happened to the Vietnam vet win -- when they would come home. They were ignored and you were booted off the plane and said you were done. I never saw combat. I can only imagine those who did. It comes back again to that brotherhood that you can truly understand what it meant not only in Paul's film or those Marines who went the dark horse Battalion or those guys of Vietnam. That is what this film is all about. The brotherhood that bound them together to overcome this overwhelming odds and whether they were in the frozen chosen in world war -- in the Korean War or -- it is their legacy of those brothers in arms. You were talking -- what Paul was talking about he was -- because of his film is based on a true incident as are some of these others. He was trying to create a true incident. The biggest thing in your mind was how was is going to play with the survivors? How -- are we doing them justice? Will they be wigged out when they see it? We had a screening before the premiere in London. A private screening just for the vets. Myself and the writer Tom Williams were absolutely petrified. So much more scared about that screening that we were about any screening at all. These are -- [ Indiscernible - multiple speakers ] I think it is quite emotional for them. Bill came out and said what a great thing it is. Since then it's really nice that they helped us with the promotion. They are US vets associated with this as well. Because the rescue was current -- courtesy of American. At the premiere in London one of the vets flew himself over to London to come and watch a film because we did manage to get in touch with them. It was the first time he met one of the vets since he took them out to the minefield. Of course a documentary that of honor is produced by Rick Burns and it's all about the way that injured soldiers through the years habitat within the United States. There are some good and some bad. Bob, do have a sense of how successful this festival is going to be in San Diego? I'm going to be honest and say no. The first time -- for me the subject matter is very close to my heart. I'm really hoping it does open up some eyes to people who would see what your neighbors here in San Diego went through and whether -- you can place your neighbor the same boots that the British unit within, but we have a lot of similarities between those two events whether it was Marines who were employed to Afghanistan or British troops that went to Afghanistan. They all ran into the same monster. It really helps you to appreciate what they not only did, but remember these are all volunteers. In my day, they said your be drafted. These were all volunteers. They saw what would happen. They wanted to do this and wanted to fight for their country. Some of them did pay the ultimate price. A lot of them came home injured. It was in the stories that you cover as a reporter PTSD. It is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. The GI Film Festival starts tomorrow with the screening of Kilo Two Bravo at the museum in San Diego at seven in the evening. The festival continues in a variety of venues to Sunday. I've been speaking with Bob Lorenz -- Bob Lawrence and Paul Katis. Thank you both very much. Still ahead what role has mental illness played in history? We will explore madness and civilization. That as KPBS midday edition continues.

GI Film Festival San Diego

When: Tuesday through Sunday

Where: Various Locations

Ticket Information

A film festival opening in San Diego this week reveals the struggles and triumphs of the military experience.

The GI Film Group, which hosts the GI Film Festival in Washington D.C., is bringing the festival to San Diego as part of a unique collaboration with the San Diego Film Consortium and KPBS.


"San Diego is by far the largest community of both active and retired (service members)," Bob Lawrence, member of the GIFF Advisory Committee San Diego, told KPBS Midday Edition on Monday. "This is a natural place for the film festival to come to."

Lawrence, a San Diego military reporter, said the festival is for veterans, by veterans.

It features dramas, documentaries and short films from Tuesday through Sunday at several locations around San Diego.

GI Film Festival San Diego opens Tuesday with the screening of the British film "Kilo Two Bravo" by director Paul Katis.

Film: Kilo Two Bravo