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2021 GI Film Festival San Diego Kicks Off

GI Film Festival San Diego Logo for Virtual Event from May 18-23 2021.

KPBS is once again presenting the GI Film Festival San Diego. The six day festival is virtual this year and it features a record 38 films.

The GI Film Festival San Diego honors the stories of service members and veterans through film.

2021 GI Film Festival San Diego Kicks Off
Listen to this story by Melissa Mae.

Keshia Javis-Jones is an Advisory Committee Member of the festival. She is a Marine combat veteran and sayd she loves spreading awareness of this festival.

RELATED: GI Film Festival Framed By Diverse Women’s Stories

“Even after serving 10 years, I was not one to want to talk to anyone else about what I did or how I served or especially combat experience," Javis-Jones said. "It was very hard to talk about in the very beginning and this festival brings it to life, you know, without putting me in a vulnerable space.”

She called the festival a bonding experience.

“It’s a great opportunity to bring veterans and service members now together, then just celebrate our sacrifices and bond over just sharing each other’s stories and supporting each other in everything that you’re doing now,” said Javis-Jones.

Video: GI Film Festival

Pacifica J. Sauer is a U.S. Navy Veteran and the director of the festival’s opening night film, "The Invisible Project.”

“Women are the most visible service members and the most invisible veterans," Sauer said, "and what a perfect place to tell women veteran stories than with an audience that already cares.”

“Some of the issues women face are devastatingly scary and some of the traumas women have endured are heartbreaking, but it’s very uplifting when you see them persevere,” said Sauer.

Sauer's film is a documentary-style info-drama. She said she's grateful to be a part of the festival.

“Our goal is to create empathy by telling these stories so we can maybe change some policies and some legislations, so we can get women the help they need and the service they need, so we can live full lives when we get out,” Sauer said.

Her message for her fellow female vets: “To all the women veterans out there, you are not invisible. Your life is worth it. Your service was worth it no matter how long ago it was."

Passes for the virtual film festival are available online.