GI Film Festival San Diego 2018 Winners Announced

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SAN DIEGO – Oct. 3, 2018 On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 the GI Film Festival San Diego announced the winners of this year’s festival. More than 120 people attended the soiree hosted by comedian and former U.S. Navy Officer, Jamie Kaler, with featured entertainment by the American Flyboys.

This year’s military film festival, which is the largest on the West Coast, featured 34 films, 15 screenings, and countless opportunities to be inspired. The six-day festival was also home base for the national GI Film Festival in 2018. The awards program recognized the courageous storytelling produced by international, national and local filmmakers. Some of the nominated films qualify for both national and local awards, as content features San Diego events, people, places, and filmmakers.

The world premiere of the four-minute narrative short “Let It Go,” directed by San Diego filmmaker Stephanie Heim, was the runaway winner of the evening, earning three awards in both national and local categories: Best Film Made By or Starring Veterans or Military, Local Film Showcase – Best Actress, and Local Film Showcase – Best Narrative Short.

 

National Award Winners

The following titles are winners in the GI Film Festival San Diego 2018’s national categories:

Best Narrative Short: Best narrative film under 60 minutes

“American”

Directed by Richie Adams
Best Documentary Feature: Best documentary film 60 minutes or more (tie)

“Surviving Home”

By Jillian Moul & Matthew Moul

Best Documentary Feature: Best documentary film 60 minutes or more (tie)

“When the Smoke Clears: A Story of Brotherhood, Resilience and Hope”

Directed by Rebecca Shore

Best Documentary Short: Best documentary film under 60 minutes

“We Are Not Done Yet”

Sareen Hairabedian and Jeffrey Wright

Best Film Made By or Starring Veterans or Military: Best film of any length or style (documentary or narrative) that features current military and/or veterans in key roles (Producer, Director, Writer, Lead Actor/Actress)

“Let It Go”

Directed by Stephanie Heim

Best Student Film: Best film of any length or style (documentary or narrative) by a student filmmaker

“G.I. José”

By Alejandro Marquez Vela
Best First Time Filmmaker: Best film of any length or style (documentary or narrative) by a filmmaker in their directorial debut

“From Baghdad to The Bay”

By Erin Palmquist

 

Local Film Showcase 2018 Award Winners

The following titles are winners in the Local Film Showcase for the GI Film Festival San Diego 2018. These winners are all connected to San Diego in some way, such as the filmmaker’s place of residence/production office, film subject, shooting/editing, historic event, or other meaningful tie in. San Diego County areas of residence or neighborhood where the film was created are included if filmmakers provided this information by Sept. 4, 2018:

Local Film ShowcaseBest Actor: Best performance by an actor; performer does not have to be a current military service member or veteran

Adam Gilmore, “Hotflakes”

Local Film ShowcaseBest Actress: Best performance by an actress; performer does not have to be a current military service member or veteran

Leaphy Khim, “Let It Go”

Local Film ShowcaseBest Narrative Short: Best narrative film under 60 minutes

“Let It Go”

Directed by Stephanie Heim (Carmel Valley resident)

Local Film ShowcaseBest Documentary Short: Best documentary film under 60 minutes

“Never Forget” (Filmed at The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park)

By Lane Nishikawa (Tierrasanta resident)

Local Film ShowcaseBest Film Made By or Starring Veterans or Military: Best film of any length or style (documentary or narrative) that features current military and/or veterans in key roles (Producer, Director, Writer, Lead Actor/Actress)

“Thud Pilots”

Directed by Mark A. Vizcarra (Rancho Bernardo resident)

Local Film ShowcaseBest Student Film: Best film of any length or style (documentary or narrative) by a student filmmaker

“Code of Honor: One Soldiers Stand for Equality”

By Aiden Keltner (Clairemont resident)

Local Film ShowcaseLocal Choice Award: Best film where at least 60 percent of the cast, crew and locations were sourced from San Diego County or Imperial County

“Major Capers: The Legend of Team Broadminded” (Filmed at Camp Pendleton)

 

The 2019 GI Film Festival San Diego is scheduled for September 2019. For up-to-date information on the festival and to be notified of the film submission process for 2019, visit www.GIFilmFestivalSD.org.  

About GI Film Festival San Diego

Established in 2015, the GI Film Festival San Diego aims to honor and preserve military stories. The films 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 the 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 GI Film Festival San Diego. 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 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 DESCRIPTIONS OF AWARD-WINNING FILMS 2018 (alphabetical order):

  • “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 / Tues., Sept 25 at 7:00 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “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 / Sun., Sept 30 at 12:00 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center
  • “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 Feature / Dir. Erin Palmquist / 2018 / one hour and eight minutes / San Diego Premiere / 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 / Fri., Sept 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “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 / Fri., Sept 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “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 / Fri., Sept 28 at 8:15 p.m. at Museum of Photographic Arts
  • “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
  • “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 Feature / Local Film Showcase / Dir. Ashley Cusato / 2018 / one hour and 25 minutes / San Diego Premiere / Sun., Sept 30 at 12:00 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 / 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 / Wed. Sept 26 at 7:15 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 / 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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