Thursday, May 29, 2014

GI Film Festival (GIFF) 2014

The GI Film Festival (GIFF) is a 501 c(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to sharing the military experience in and out of the arena of war. This festival is the first in the nation to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the service member through the medium of film. This festival was co-founded by Brandon Millett and Laura Law-Millet in 2007, and it's amazing to see it's growth and reach worldwide.

I've been supporting and photographing the GI Film Festival since 2008. As an Army veteran, I am proud of it and am glad that the GI Film Festival exists to show the world about the military from another perspective. The films honors soldiers and addresses issues that face them, their families and significant others, whether the soldier is in the military or back in civilian life. I photographed each night of the GI Film Festival from May 19-25, and have shared highlights from each night. For more information, check out the GIFF website.

Monday May 19, 2014 - Field of Lost Shoes
Old Town Theater, Alexandria, VA
Film Screening: Field of Lost Shoes, Directed by Sean McNamara, starring David Arquette
Reception inspired by the Paramount film Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit at The Torpedo Factory


Tuesday May 20, 2014 - Congressional Reception
Capital Visitor's Center (CVC), Washington DC
Speakers: Actor Melissa Fitzgerald (West Wing), Senior Director, Justice for Vets; Actor Jamie Kaler, military veteran, host of the new American Heroes Channel show "America: Fact vs. Fiction."; Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Chris Gibson; Rep. Tammy Duckworth
Film Screening: The Civilian-Military Divide


Wednesday May 21 - International Warrior Night
Canadian Embassy, Washington DC


Celebrating the Warrior Spirit
Cinemark Theater, Fairfax, VA
Film Screening: When The Game Stands Tall - The journey of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel), who took the De La Salle High School Spartans from obscurity to a 151-game winning streak that shattered all records for any American Sport.
After-Party: Ruth's Chris Steak House

When I arrived at the Cinemark Theater in Fairfax Corner, I noticed a fire engine in front of the building and firemen and policemen hanging out. It turns out they were supporting the event. Before the movie was about to start, there were speakers such as William Wagasy, the Program & Outreach Director for the Gary Sinise Foundation and Dan Dellinger, National Commander of the American Legion. Lastly a representative from Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) spoke about this feature movie that SPE is proud to present, and that it will be released nationwide on August 22, 2014. It may have seemed peculiar to some that on GIFF Warrior Spirit night, a movie about football would be shown, yet after seeing the movie I believe that everyone understood. There is a fighting spirit in the movie and it's lessons can be applied not only on the field, but off of it in life. This movie is inspired by a true story and the quality and character of the movie is evident throughout, as viewers will be brought into the action and into the lives of those in this community. This is one of the most positive movies I have seen, and I'm sure it will do well and dwell in the hearts of it's viewers.   


Friday May 23, 2014 - Salute to Hollywood Patriots
Old Town Theater, Alexandria, VA
Film Screenings: The First Motion Picture Unit: When Hollywood Went to War; Travis: A Soldier's Story
After-Party: George Washington Masonic Temple, featuring Tom & Debra and other swing dancers.



Saturday May 24, 2014 - Heroes Then and Now
Old Town Theater, Alexandria, VA
Film Screenings: The Knee Deep Sailor; Forgotten Flag Raisers
After-Party: USPTO Building, Alexandria, VA

US Marine and Actor Adam Driver received the 2014 GIFF Veterans in Entertainment award. Then there was the Best of Festival awards and a tribute to NBC Universal's film Lone Survivor with special guest Marcus Luttrell. 


Sunday May 25, 2014 - Salute to Women in the Military
Old Town Theater, Alexandria, VA
Film Screening: Fort Bliss - A decorated Army medic and single mother (Michelle Monaghan) returns home from an extended tour in Afghanistan to discover that she must now find a way to reconcile her duties as a mother and her obligations as a soldier.