The G.I. Film Festival is an annual event held in D.C. featuring films that “honor the American men and women in uniform and the world wide struggle for freedom and democracy.” In just a few years it’s become a major event, with stars like Kelsey Grammer, Gary Sinise, and Jon Voight participating, and appearances by prominent members of the military community such as Senator John McCain and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Richard Meyers. The festival takes place each May on Memorial Day weekend. But you don’t have to wait for the next one to see the great films honoring our men and women in uniform.
In honor of Veterans Day, and fittingly following the 235th birthday of the Marine Corps, the Military Channel will begin airing weekend programming blocks featuring some of the best content to come out of the festival. (Press release and programming schedule are below the fold.)
The stories of courage and sacrifice that comprise the collective military experience in America are something that touch us all. The voices of the brave soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have stood steadfast watch over this great nation inform more than just our understanding of the price of freedom, they tell us about ourselves as well. About America. The G.I. Film Festival gives an unprecedented and invaluable platform for those voices. And now the Military Channel is bringing them home for all Americans to experience.
Click through to read the press release and check out the schedule. Semper Fi.
Military Channel Brings G.I. Film Festival’s Best Films to a National Audience Starting Veterans Day Weekend
Military Channel is joining forces with the G.I. Film Festival, the nation’s most prestigious film festival devoted exclusively to the heroic service of American service members. Military Channel will feature weekend blocks of some of the G.I Film Festival’s award-winning documentary and narrative films showcasing themes ranging from the courage and ingenuity displayed on battlefields throughout history to the struggles of homelessness and post-traumatic stress disorder often encountered on the home front. The G.I. Film Festival block will run on Military Channel from 9-11 PM ET on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout November starting on Friday, November 12, the day afterVeterans Day.
“The diverse lineup of the G.I. Film Festival is a natural fit for Military Channel, which prides itself on highlighting the full spectrum of human drama, courage and patriotism intrinsic to the armed forces,” said Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of Military Channel. “By providing the G.I. Film Festival a national platform, Military Channel invites its viewers to explore these beautifully produced films that resonate with the creative passion of each independent filmmaker.”
“We are proud to provide our filmmakers with a national audience on one of the nation’s most respected television networks,” said G.I. Film Festival co-founders Brandon Millett and Laura Law-Millett. “We know Military Channel viewers will be touched and inspired by this programming. And we hope that, through our films, they gain a greater sense of appreciation for our nation’s men and women in uniform.”
“This national television partnership is a landmark event in the history of the G.I. Film Festival,” said G.I. Film Festival ChairmanSteven K. Bannon. “We now move from a DC-based event to a national organization fostering a positive image for American G.I.’s.”
The opening weekend of G.I. Film Festival programming on Military Channel includes:
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12 from 9-11 PM ET
- SHAKEY’S HILL
In 1970, CBS News cameraman Norman Lloyd followed a battalion of American soldiers into the jungles of Cambodia. The mission was to seek out substantial weapons and supply caches being used by the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War. As the battalion closed in on the location of the caches, they encountered a growing resistance from the North Vietnamese forces. Rarely seen footage and first-hand accounts take the audience through each firefight leading up to the operation’s climax, which came to be known as the infamous taking of Shakey’s Hill. By melding field interviews from 1970 with retrospective interviews from 35 years later, SHAKEY’S HILL explores not only the events leading to this successful mission but the effects of war decades later. SHAKEY’S HILL, winner of the 2007 G.I. Film Festival’s Best Documentary Award, is produced and directed by Norman Lloyd.
- THE SURGE: THE UNTOLD STORY
THE SURGE: THE UNTOLD STORY, the Military Channel Documentary Award winner at the 2010 G.I. Film Festival, offers a look into the real story of the troop surge in Iraq, as told by top U.S. military commanders, policy makers and soldiers on the ground. Never-before-seen interviews with General David Petraeus, General Ray Odierno, Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General Nasier Abadi (Iraq), among others, move the story beyond Washington politics to explore how a failing mission was transformed into one of the most successful military operations in a generation of war fighting. This documentary honors the sacrifice, courage and ingenuity of the military personnel who confronted nearly impossible circumstances, but found success through their dedication and hard work. THE SURGE: THE UNTOLD STORY is presented by the Institute for the Study of War with Kim Kagan and Russ Schriefer as executive producers and Jason Killian Meath as director.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13 from 9-11 PM ET
- TRIANGLE OF DEATH
First-time filmmaker Marine Sergeant Folleh Shar Tamba tells the story of a foreign land engulfed in daily combat inTRIANGLE OF DEATH, winner of the 2009 G.I. Film Festival Founder’s Choice Award. Living day-to-day and seeing a country that wants to change, the 2nd Battalion 24th Marines’ struggles are chronicled in this poignant film. TRIANGLE OF DEATH is a story of people helping people, regardless of politics, presidents or public opinion. Told by the Marines who saw it firsthand, this is the story of the triangle of death and how its people chose to participate in Iraq‘s first democratic national elections. TRIANGLE OF DEATH is produced by Wolf Dog Films with Folleh Tamba as director, Juan Montelongoand Thomas Hartmann as producers.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14 from 9-11 PM ET
- L-BIRD: THE LITTLE PLANE THAT DID
They weighed less than 800 pounds and were completely unarmed – but these cloth-covered spotter planes, the L-Birds, created more chaos than any other aircraft used in WWII. Flying low and slow to see enemy movement, the L-Birds would call in artillery fire to rain death and destruction onto their targets. Thanks to an innovative suspended landing system that hung above trees or over the sides of ships, pilots of these unique planes could land and take off without even touching the ground. Hosted by Academy-award winning actor Cliff Robertson, L-BIRD: THE LITTLE PLANE THAT DID profiles this little-known but astonishing warplane, which earned a reputation as the deadliest plane used in WWII. L-BIRD: THE LITTLE PLANE THAT DID is produced by On Air Media from the Drury TV Studios with Brian Shipman as director.
- GOD AND COUNTRY
In the spring of 1942, the world was at war. Hitler had swept unchecked across the European landscape and was pounding at the doors of Great Britain. To break the stalemate with Great Britain, the Germans began developing a new weapon at a secret research facility in Poland. GOD AND COUNTRY is a dramatic film portraying a team of three Americans who put their lives on the line to stop the German’s diabolical plan. GOD AND COUNTRY, winner of the “Best Narrative Short” at the 2008 G.I. Film Festival, is executive produced and directed by Daniel Piatt.
About G.I. Film Festival
The award-winning G.I. Film Festival, which is entering its fifth year, is held annually in Washington, D.C. each May. The festival has featured nearly 150 narrative and documentary full-length and short films that entertain, captivate and inspire audiences by featuring the full range of human emotions experienced by American G.I.’s. From world premiere screenings, panel discussions, congressional receptions, and Filmmaker Boot Camps, the G.I. Film Festival provides the production community, the armed forces and festival attendees with an exciting slate of events each year. In 2010, The G.I. Film Festival was honored with the American Legion National Commander’s PR Award for its efforts to foster greater understanding of the successes and sacrifices of American G.I.’s. Past recipients include Tim Russert, Tom Brokaw and Lou Dobbs. For more information on the 2011 G.I. Film Festival, please visit www.gifilmfestival.com.
About Military Channel
The Military Channel brings viewers compelling, real-world stories of heroism, military strategy, and significant turning points in history. Currently available in more than 57 million homes, the network takes viewers “behind the lines” to hear the personal stories of servicemen and women and offers in-depth explorations of military training, aviation technology and cutting-edge weaponry. As the only cable network devoted to military subjects, it also provides unique access to this world, allowing viewers to understand the full spectrum of experiences intrinsic to the armed forces, as well as the long-held traditions of the military. For more information, please visit military.discovery.com.