GI Film Festival San Diego 2018 Full Schedule

GI Film Festival San Diego 2018 Full Schedule
September, 2018 Client News

SAN DIEGO, CA – Sept. 5, 2018 – The fourth annual GI Film Festival San Diego is getting ready to roll from Tuesday, Sept. 25 through Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. Organizers have once again curated a film lineup to feature the untold and underrepresented stories of America’s military through film. The six-day San Diego military film festival features 34 films, including nine world premieres and five West Coast premieres, as well as several screenings, filmmaker appearances, and panel discussions. GI Film Festival San Diego attendees have opportunities to watch the films, meet filmmakers and film subjects, and have conversations to tackle topics that are usually unspoken.

The GI Film Festival San Diego is one of only a few film festivals in the entire United States to exclusively feature stories for, by, and about military service members and veterans. Film selections focus on several different topics, and attendees see a glimpse of what military service members, and their families, have done and sacrificed for the United States. This year, films feature diverse stories including LGBTQ+ military members, women service members, the themes of resiliency and recovery, and caregiving post-deployment. Selections also highlight multicultural military experiences from the Hispanic, African-American, Asian and Israeli point-of-views.

Opening Night is Tuesday, Sept. 25
The six-day San Diego military film festival begins with the ever-popular Opening Night Screening and Reception on Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Museum of Photographic Arts in iconic Balboa Park. The evening includes screenings of the narrative short “American,” followed by the documentary short, “The Registry.” Special guest George Takei, who is the lead actor in “American,” is anticipated to attend the Opening Night Screening and Reception. Both films focus on World War II events and emphasize the important roles and services that Japanese-American military members provided throughout the war. In addition to Takei, the directors of each film are expected to attend the Opening Night celebration and will participate in a panel discussion after the screenings. Screenings then continue through Friday, Sept. 28 at the Museum of Photographic Arts. The festival moves to UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center for the Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sunday, Sept. 30 screenings.

Other notable film titles this year include:

  • “From Baghdad to The Bay,” a documentary feature focusing on an Iraqi refugee and former translator for the U.S. military who struggled to rebuild his life in the United States while coming out as an openly gay man.
  • “When the Smoke Clears,” a documentary feature that tells the true stories of young Israeli soldiers whose injuries, both mental and physical, leave them fighting for the strength to live.
  • “Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero,” an animated family-friendly feature about young Army Pvt. Robert Conroy and his stump-tailed terrier who embark on an adventure during World War I that would define a century.
  • “The Hello Girls: The Story of America’s First Female Soldiers,” making its West Coast Premiere at the GI Film Festival San Diego, this documentary short reveals the relatively unknown story of 223 American women who served overseas during WWI as telephone operators.
  • “The Dark Resurgence,” a narrative short created by a local veteran and festival newcomer, Michael “Mike the Marine” McCumber, this “Star Wars” fan film tells tale of an old Sith Empire emerged from the shadows to seize control of the galaxy.
  • “I Am That Man,” making its World Premiere at the GI Film Festival San Diego, this 87-minute narrative feature follows John Beckett as he struggles to adjust to civilian life and the breakdown of his marriage. As he considers returning to his life as a Navy SEAL, he is faced with the decision to avenge a murdered friend and mentor.
  • “Kilimanjaro Warriors: A Monumental Goal for Recovery,” follows a group of amputee military veterans who set forth on a monumental goal for physical and spiritual recovery, training and climbing the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft) in Tanzania, Africa.
  • “We Are Not Done Yet,” a documentary short about 10 U.S. veterans of varied backgrounds who come together at a poetry workshop to combat their traumatic military pasts through the art of written word.
  • “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War,” an award-winning documentary that tells the story of General John J. Pershing’s military career and his personal life, including tragedies seldom examined. Twenty months after America entered WWI in April of 1917, General Pershing and two million troops helped turn the battle tide.

“This year’s festival lineup covers a range of untold military stories by local and national filmmakers, and veterans with their own stories to tell,” said Jodi Cilley, founder and president, Film Consortium San Diego. “Our county’s military film festival is six days of diverse stories told from many perspectives to exemplify courageous filmmaking and tell our country’s history. We’re proud to give these underrepresented, powerful stories an opportunity to shine.”

All Access Passes, general admission tickets for the Opening Night Screening and Reception, as well as the rest of the festival screenings are available now at GIFilmFestivalSD.org. All of the events will be open to the public with discounted opportunities for active duty personnel and veterans.

San Diego is now ‘home base’ for national GI Film Festival
Founders of the GI Film Festival announced in May 2018 that San Diego will now be the home of the national film festival for 2018. According to actor and renowned military philanthropist Gary Sinise, the festival is “the go-to place for military-themed movies.” The shift to the West Coast is a natural one for the national GI Film Festival, which launched in Washington, DC in 2007. San Diego boasts one of the largest military populations in the U.S., with seven major military bases between the Navy, Marines and the Coast Guard. San Diego County has the third largest veteran population in the U.S. with more than 240,000 veterans and more than 100,000 active duty members. San Diego is also the home to a thriving film and media production industry and dozens of film festivals year-round.

EVENT CALENDAR INFORMATION

  • GI Film Festival San Diego 2018
  • Tuesday, Sept. 25 through Sunday, Sept. 30
  • Screening times vary.
  • Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park (for Sept. 25-28)
  • UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center (for Sept. 29-30)
  • All Access Passes and tickets available on GIFilmFestivalSD.org.

About GI Film Festival San Diego
Established in 2015, the GI Film Festival San Diego aims to reveal the struggles, triumphs, and experiences of service members and veterans through compelling and authentic storytelling. Documentaries, shorts, narratives, and family-friendly films are presented, highlighting stories of heroism, resilience, and honor. The festival also includes Local Film Showcase, which features San Diego’s filmmakers, events, people, or places. Panel discussions with filmmakers, actors, and documentary subjects are also part of GIFFSD. The festival also includes a family movie night, bringing military-connected and civilian families together for an evening of movie magic and community spirit.

The festival is organized by KPBS in partnership with the GI Film Group and Film Consortium San Diego. Official sponsors of the 2018 GI Film Festival San Diego include: Kaminskiy Design & Remodeling, The Super Dentists, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, BAE Systems, Lewis University, National City Mile of Cars, the San Diego Opera, Altus Schools, Bob Baker Subaru, and Miramar National Cemetery. Additional support is provided by Scatena Daniels Communications. The GI Film Festival San Diego is a proud member of the San Diego Veterans Coalition.

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 annually 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 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 hosts and organizes the San Diego Film Awards, San Diego Film Week, and various screening and networking events.

About KPBS
KPBS serves San Diego and Imperial counties with trusted news and programs that inspire, respect and educate. KPBS delivers this content to more than one million audience members weekly via multiple outlets, including television, radio, and digital media. As a public service of San Diego State University, education is a core value – from our children’s programming to our local news coverage. KPBS is committed to being a reliable source for in-depth, thoughtful, and high-quality content. For more information, visit kpbs.org.

Film Selections for the 2018 GI Film Festival San Diego as of Aug. 31, 2018:
The following films (in alphabetical order) are confirmed for the GI Film Festival San Diego this year at either the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park or UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center. Titles are subject to change.

  • “Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas” – A 21st century engineering marvel, the aircraft carrier is the maritime flagship of our time. Find yourself aboard the carrier alongside 5000 skilled sea and air personnel conducting flight operations in the midst of the simulated war exercises at RIMPAC. Documentary Short / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Stephen Low / 2017 / 42 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Fri., Sept 28 at 4:00 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “American”A 94-year-old veteran who works as a volunteer at the Japanese American National Museum encounters a mother and her daughter, triggering events that happened in his past, including his time as a young man in a Japanese American Internment Camp and later serving with the 442 in WWII. Stars George Takei, Leonardo Nam, Rachel Michiko Whitney, Keong Sim, and Ivan Shaw. Narrative Short / Dir. Richie Adams / 2018 / 18 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Filmmaker Richie Adams and Actor George Takei are scheduled to attend / Tues., Sept 25 at 7:00 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” – Drawn from personal papers, archival photographs, and film, the award-winning documentary “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” tells the story of General John J. Pershing’s military career and his personal life, including tragedies seldom examined. Twenty months after America entered WWI in April of 1917, General Pershing and two million troops helped turn the battle tide. Documentary Short / Dir. Bernard McCoy / 2017 / 57 minutes / West Coast Premiere / Filmmaker Bernie McCoy is scheduled to attend / Thurs., Sept 27 at 4:30 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Brooklyn in July” – Frank Walker is an African-American WWII veteran working as a chauffeur. It is the summer of 1945. Frank is drawn to New York by the promise of better life only to be confronted by the same realities, fear, and hatred he hoped he had left behind. Narrative Short / Dirs. Bob Celli and Laura Delano / 2017 / 21 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Filmmakers Bob Celli and Laura Delano are scheduled to attend / Sun., Sept 30 at 12:00 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
  • “Code of Honor: One Soldier’s Stand for Equality” – A U.S. Marine Corps veteran tells the story of his experience participating in the integration of African-Americans into the Marine Corps. Documentary Short / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Aiden Keltner / 2018 / 12 minutes / World Premiere / Filmmaker Aiden Keltner is scheduled to attend / Sun., Sept 30 at 12:00 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
  • “Coming Out to Grandma” – Charlie has an awkward time coming out of the closet to his Ellen-hating, Fox News-watching grandma, who has dementia. Narrative Short / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Jason Zuidema / 2017 / eight minutes / World Premiere / Filmmaker Jason Zuidema is scheduled to attend / Fri., Sept 28 at 6:00 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “The Dark Resurgence” – In this “Star Wars” fan film, an old Sith Empire emerged from the shadows to seize control of the galaxy. Narrative Short / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Michael McCumber / 2018 / 12 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Filmmaker Michael McCumber (aka, “Mike the Marine”) is scheduled to attend / Fri., Sept 28 at 8:15 p.m. at the Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Do No Harm” – A combat medic attempts to hold on to humanity in the midst of a war much bigger than himself. A medic’s job is to fix people up; but how does that obligation reconcile with someone who is trained to fight and may be asked to kill? Narrative Short / Dir. Marielle Woods / 2017 / eight minutes / San Diego Premiere / Filmmaker Marielle Woods is scheduled to attend / Sun., Sept 30 at 3:00 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center / Viewer discretion advised
  • “The Flashback” – Frank Barnes is a Vietnam Combat Veteran, suffering from PTSD. When his grandson comes to stay, he doesn’t understand why Frank hasn’t just “moved on” from an event that took place half a century ago. It’s the anniversary of the battle that took Frank’s best friend’s life and he is finally going to fulfill a promise he made to “Bill” 50 years ago. Narrative Short / Dir. Alex Bartz / 2018 / seven minutes / San Diego Premiere / Filmmaker Alex Bartz is scheduled to attend / Wed. Sept 26 at 7:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “From Baghdad to The Bay” – Follow the epic journey of Ghazwan Alsharif, an Iraqi refugee and former translator for the U.S. military. Wrongfully accused of being a double agent, tortured by the U.S. military, and ostracized from family and country, we follow Ghazwan as he struggles to rebuild his life in the United States while coming out as an openly gay activist. Documentary / Dir. Erin Palmquist / 2018 / one hour and eight minutes / San Diego Premiere / Filmmaker Erin Palmquist and film subject Ghazwan Alsharif are scheduled to attend / Fri., Sept 28 at 6:00 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “G.I. José” – A Mexican-American U.S. Army soldier comes back home and faces the dilemma of whether to defend his family, or the laws of the country he vowed to protect. Narrative Short / Dir. Alejandro Marquez Vela / 2017 / 11 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Filmmaker Alejandro Marquez Vela is scheduled to attend / Fri., Sept 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “The Hello Girls: The Story of America’s First Female Soldiers” – Told through 100-year old letters, photos, archival footage, and interviews with family and historians, “The Hello Girls” reveals the relatively unknown story of 223 American women who served overseas during WWI as telephone operators. Documentary Short / Dir. James Theres / 2018 / 56 minutes / West Coast Premiere / Thurs., Sept 27 at 4:30 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Heroes Dive” – Five paralyzed veterans attempt an open ocean dive that changes their perceptions of who they are and what they can do. Documentary Short / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Brett Wheat / 2017 / 12 minutes / World Premiere / Sat., Sept 29 at 10:00 a.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
  • “Hotflakes” – In 1976, Richard and Willie try to sell their last kilo of cocaine to a private buyer. When they can’t read Willie’s handwriting, they must blindly choose a house and hope it is the right one. Narrative Short / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Trevor Neuenswander / 2018 / 11 minutes / World Premiere / Filmmaker Trevor Neuenswander is scheduled to attend / Fri., Sept 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “I Am That Man” –While struggling to adjust to civilian life and the breakdown of his marriage, John Beckett considers returning to his life as a Navy SEAL. When his beloved friend and mentor is brutally murdered in a racially motivated attack, Beckett calls on his specialized skills to bring the perpetrators to justice. Has he found a new sense of purpose or will this be his last mission? Narrative Feature / Dir. Matthew Marsden / 2018 / one hour and 27 minutes / World Premiere / Filmmakers Matthew Marsden and Margaret Blackwell are scheduled to attend / Thurs., Sept 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Kilimanjaro Warriors: A Monumental Goal for Recovery” – In February 2014, a group of amputee military veterans set forth on a monumental goal for physical and spiritual recovery: they would train and climb the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro (19341 ft) in Tanzania, Africa. Documentary Feature / Dir. Bevan Bell / 2015 / one hour 35 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Sat., Sept 29 at 10:00 a.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
  • “The Last Signal” – Raymond “DeVere” Johnson thought he was the last surviving World War II veteran of the Navy ship LST-218. Adamant to prove he was not alone, his daughter created a post on Facebook asking help in finding him a fellow shipmate. Weeks later, 91-year-old veteran of LST-218 John Heimsoth was uncovered. The two great men schedule a reunion, proving it is never too late to share history even as time runs out. Documentary Short / Dir. Kyle Olson / 2017 / 29 minutes / U.S. Premiere / Filmmaker Kyle Olson is scheduled to attend / Fri., Sept 28 at 4:00 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park
  • “Let It Go” – A Marine deals with loss of a fellow Marine. Narrative Short / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Stephanie Heim / 2018 / four minutes / World Premiere / Filmmaker Stephanie Heim is scheduled to attend / Fri., Sept 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Lion in a Box” – This experimental film elucidates the margins of sacrifice and combat. This first person documentary recounts one woman’s military training, and the battles she endured to achieve her goals. Narrative Short / Dir. Melanie Brown / 2017 / four minutes / San Diego Premiere / Filmmaker Melanie Brown is scheduled to attend / Fri., Sept 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Major Capers: The Legend of Team Broadminded” – This honest and unflinching documentary portrays the extraordinary life story of Major James Capers, Jr. an American hero, who persevered through adversity and after 50 classified missions rose to become one of the most decorated Force Recon Marines in history. Documentary Short / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Ashley Cusato / 2018 / one hour / San Diego Premiere / Writer and Producer Erich Recker, Director Ashley Cusato, and film subject and Marine Corps veteran Major Capers are scheduled to attend / Sun., Sept 30 at 12:00 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
  • “My Voice, My American” – First graders read from books that they wrote about great Americans that they know: their military parents. Documentary Short / Local Film Showcase / Students at Stuart Mesa School / 2017 / three minutes / Sun., Sept 30 at 1:30 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
  • “Never Forget” – An intimate portrait of the few remaining World War II Japanese-American veterans of the 100th/442nd Regiment, U.S. Army, and their families. Documentary Short / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Lane Nishikawa / 2017 / 37 minutes / Wed. Sept 26 at 5:00 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Popcorn & Chocolate” – A tenacious middle school band student selling fundraisers helps a grief stricken military family recover from their loss. Narrative Short / Dir. Michael Baker / 2018 / 15 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Fri., Sept 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “The Registry” – Thousands of World War II Japanese -American veterans served in the U.S. Military Intelligence Service, the M.I.S. Many of those stories have been lost, as the unit was sworn to secrecy for decades after the war. The film looks at decisions made in a time of war regarding loyalty to country while facing racism and the mass internment in the U.S. of people of Japanese descent. Documentary Short / Dirs. William Kubota and Steve Ozone / 2018 / 57 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Filmmaker William Kubota and Steve Ozone are scheduled to attend / Tues., Sept 25 at 7:00 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Safe with Me” – In the midst of an apocalyptic epidemic, a sheriff SWAT officer tries to save one more innocent life before time runs out. Narrative Short / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Ryan Kelly / 2017 / 19 minutes / Filmmaker Ryan Kelly is scheduled to attend / Fri., Sept 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Satellite Drop” – This short is based on the true story of U.S. Marine Michael Johnston on his first tour of duty and the Sergeant responsible for training him at a remote Intelligence Post in Scotland. Things take an unexpected turn after the two learn they’ve been assigned Satellite Drop duty. Their task is to deliver a canister of intel to the Watch Officer before time runs out. Narrative Short / Local Film Showcase / Dir. L. V. O’Connell / 2017 / 10 minutes / West Coast Premiere / Filmmaker L.V. O’Connell is scheduled to attend / Fri., Sept 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Sgt. Stubby – An American Hero” – Army Pvt. Robert Conroy is adopted by a stray, stump-tailed terrier. Conroy names his new friend Stubby and gives him a home, a family, and a chance to embark on the adventure that would define a century. The two quickly find themselves in the trenches of France during World War I and on the path to history. Narrative Animated Feature / Dir. Richard Lanni / 2018 / 84 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Sun., Sept 30 at 1:30 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
  • “Surviving Home” – This intimate documentary follows four U.S. military veterans from different generations over an eight-year period as they rebuild their lives after war. Documentary Feature / Dirs. Matthew Moul and Jillian Moul / 2017 / 85 minutes / West Coast Premiere / Filmmakers Matthew and Jillian Moul are scheduled to attend / Sat., Sept 29 at 3:30 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
  • “Thud Pilots” – No war in American history is more misunderstood than what took place over the bloody skies of North Vietnam in the 1960s. “Thud Pilots” is the untold story of the men who flew the F-105 THUD over the deadly skies of North Vietnam. Documentary Feature / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Mark Vizcarra / 2018 / 84 minutes / World Premiere / Filmmaker Mark Vizcarra is scheduled to attend / Wed. Sept 26 at 7:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “Trauma” – After saving lives on the battlefields of Afghanistan, members of a medevac unit return home to their families, each wounded in different ways. Documentary Feature / Dir. Harry Sanna / 2017 / 87 minutes / West Coast Premiere / Sun., Sept 30 at 3:00 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center / Viewer discretion advised
  • “Unforgotten” – Filmmaker Darrin Dick goes on a discovery to uncover the story of his veteran grandfather, Harold Bauer. During an interview with his grandson and trip to the Korean War Memorial in D.C., Harold opens up about his faith, family and memories from the “almost” forgotten Korean War that he’s never told anybody before. Documentary Short / Dir. Darrin Dick / 2016 / 46 minutes / World Premiere / Filmmaker Darrin Dick scheduled to attend / Wed. Sept 26 at 5:00 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “We Are Not Done Yet” – Ten U.S. veterans of varied backgrounds come together at a poetry workshop to combat their traumatic military pasts through the art of written word. Documentary Short / Dir. Sareen Hairabedian / 2018 / 40 minutes / World Premiere / Director Sareen Hairabedian is scheduled to attend / Sat., Sept 29 at 1:00 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
  • “The Weight of Honor” – Six women meet the challenges of caring for their veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, revealing their personal, emotional, and physical struggles while demonstrating strength and resiliency when their worlds are turned upside down. Documentary Short / Dir. Stephanie Seldin Howard / 2017 / 56 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Filmmaker Stephanie Seldin Howard is scheduled to attend / Sat., Sept 29 at 1:00 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
  • “When the Smoke Clears: A Story of Brotherhood, Resilience and Hope” – Young Israeli soldiers forge a new identity and rebuild their lives after sustaining serious injury during service. Through reaching out to those in need, they discover renewed meaning and healing in giving to others. Documentary Feature / Dir. Rebecca Shore / 2017 / 70 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Sun., Sept 30 at 6:00 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
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