G.I. Film Festival Hollywood — Reel Stories about Real Heroes
The G.I. Film Festival Hollywood was held over Veterans Day weekend, from November 9th through November 11th, at the Los Angeles Film School. Proceeds from the opening event benefited the Semper Fi Fund and the G.I. Film Festival.
The G.I. Film Festival, a non-profit organization, began in response to a lack of accurate portrayal of military life in movies. Co-founder Laura Law-Millett, a United States Military Academy graduate with 18 years of active duty experience, began this program with her husband Brandon Millett, a communication consultant, to honor the experience and stories of our service men and women. The mission is “preserving the success and sacrifices of the service member through the medium of film and television.”
Films represent multiple categories, from historical fiction to documentary and from gritty combat to the return home. Many are full length, others are shorts. Some films of note in 2012 include:
- Patriot Guard Riders: Soldier Down, Kickstands Up, a documentary regarding the civilian motorcycle organization that honors fallen soldiers by providing a motorcade that shields the soldiers’ families from hate groups that attend funerals;
- No Wine Left Behind, chronicling the story of veteran owned and operated Lavish Laines Winery, started when U.S. Marine Sergeant Josh Laine could not find a civilian job upon returning home from the Iraqi War; and
- 8:46, which follows several characters and story lines to an intersection at that fateful time on September 11th, 2001.
First premiering in 2007, this festival has rapidly gained praise and acclaim from both the military and film communities. Many of these films are also featured at other notable film festivals across the world, including but not limited to DOC NYC, DocUtah, and the International Historical and Military Films Festival (Poland). Several films also make it to the small screen, notably the Military Channel and the Pentagon Channel in the United States and PRIME in the Commonwealth countries.
I encourage everyone who has the chance to attend the event at least once. If you can’t attend, though, you can still support the organization and its filmmakers in several ways. Some films are available for purchase or in video-on-demand format. Donate directly to the G.I.F.F. and support its continuing mission of honoring our service members.