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GI Film Festival San Diego 2018 Opens With Film Starring George Takei

Tuesday, Sept. 25: Opening Night film titles include ‘American’ and ‘The Registry’ focusing on World War II events and Japanese-American military veterans, demonstrating how the past leaves a long-lasting impact

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SAN DIEGO, CA – Aug. 6, 2018 – Now in its fourth year, the GI Film Festival San Diego, San Diego’s six-day military film festival, is back to feature more untold and underrepresented stories of America’s military through film. The six-day, San Diego military film festival kicks-off 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, is anticipated to attend the Opening Night Screening and Reception as the leading actor in the film, “American.” 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.

“Every year, the GI Film Festival San Diego features underrepresented military stories and topics that are very eye opening and often takes audiences by surprise,” said Jodi Cilley, founder and president, Film Consortium San Diego. “These are the untold stories of diversity that have helped shape our country’s history. We’ve selected these two films to open this San Diego military film festival because they both highlight a group of veterans who did so much for Allied Forces during World War II, but have not received their rightful acknowledgment.”

A 94-year-old veteran, played by actor and activist George Takei, who works as a volunteer at the Japanese American National Museum, encounters a mother and her young 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 442nd Regional Combat Team in World War II. Director, Richie Adams / Narrative Short, 2018, USA, 18 minutes / Starring George Takei

“The Registry”
“The Registry” breaks open the hidden history of the U.S. Armyʼs Military Intelligence Service (MIS) during World War II – a story made possible because of a few aging veterans with a little Internet savvy and a lot of determination. There’s little doubt the 7,000 soldiers of the MIS helped shorten World War II by as much as two years. Most World War II veterans have passed on. Many have told their stories, recorded for history. But for those in the MIS that were Japanese Americans, also known as Nisei, and fought in the Pacific against the Japanese enemy, many of their stories have been lost, as the unit was sworn to secrecy for decades after the war. There was also no complete record made by the U.S. Army about who actually served in the unit. The documentary “The Registry” profiles a few of those who served in the MIS, including surviving veterans, Seiki Oshiro and Grant Ichikawa, as well as other veterans who help tell the unitʼs story. 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. Director, Bill Kubota and Steve Ozone / Documentary Short, 2018, USA, 56 minutes

“Films like ‘American’ and ‘The Registry’ remind us all of the sacrifice and service that all active duty and veterans have given to be considered proud American soldiers regardless of their country, origin or cultural background, and they deserve to have their stories be told,” says Cilley. “Even in today’s current affairs, we’re seeing immigrant military members who have served our country to become citizens being discharged and deported. By viewing these films, we may begin to have a discussion about the connections between the past and present day.”

Following the GI Film Festival San Diego’s Opening Night Screening and Reception, festivities will 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.

All Access Passes for entry into festival events and screenings are available now at General admission tickets for the Opening Night Screening and Reception, as well as the rest of the festival screenings will be available in August. Many of the events will be open to the public with discounted opportunities for active duty personnel and veterans. More details on the full film festival lineup will be announced in early August on the festival’s website.

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.

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, 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