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Filmmakers and Actors from Around the U.S. Take Home Coveted Awards at GI Film Festival San Diego

All films shown at the festival are available for video-on-demand rentals now through Memorial Day

SAN DIEGO, CA – May 23, 2022 – Organizers of this year’s GI Film Festival San Diego announced the multi-day event’s award-winning films, filmmakers, and actors at the culminating Awards Celebration held Saturday, May 21 at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park.

Professional and student filmmakers won in 13 award categories at this year’s Awards Celebration, which honored filmmaking excellence produced by national and local filmmakers. Honorees were carefully selected from the five-day festival lineup of 26 films, with 10 films and two actors taking home awards.

The event was hosted by Thom Tran, a Los Angeles-based stand-up comedian, musician, radio broadcaster, and U.S. military veteran and advocate.

“We were thrilled that this year’s event could be in person, together, to celebrate our filmmakers – there was definitely a strong sense of homecoming,” says Tran. “The GI Film Festival San Diego is a family of military service members, veterans, allies and filmmakers, and we look forward to seeing it grow for many years to come.”

All films in the festival – including this year’s award winners – are available as video-on-demand rentals through Memorial Day on May 30. This gives festival fans the flexibility to participate and enjoy the films whenever they choose within the rental window. To access the VOD rentals, visit

The 2022 GI Film Festival San Diego Award Winners are:

Best Documentary Short 

“Veterans Journey Home: On Black Mountain”

Directed by Frederick Marx

Best Narrative Short 

“American Hero”

Directed by Manny McCord  

Best Local Narrative Short

“My Happy Place” 

Directed by Devin Scott

Best Student Film


Directed by Aja Weary and Amanda Richardson

Best Actor

Evan Hall

“Shell Shocked”

Directed by Paula Cajiao

Best Actress

Jomarla Melancon

“Blood and Glory”

Directed by Satinder Kaur

Best Narrative Directed by Military or Veterans


Directed by Samuel Gonzalez Jr.

Best Narrative Starring Military or Veterans

“Landing Home” 

Directed by Douglas Taurel

Best Documentary Made by Military or Veterans

“Walk With Frank” 

Frank Romeo

Mayers Films

Best Documentary Feature 

“Dear Sirs”

Directed by Mark Pedri

Local Choice Award

“We All Die Alone” 

Directed by Jonathan Hammond

Founders’ Choice Award 


Directed by Jack Youngelson

Best First-Time Director

Ryan Mayers and Matt Mayers 

“Walk With Frank”

The GI Film Festival San Diego will return May 2023. To stay updated on next year’s screening dates, visit and follow the festival on social media.

About GI Film Festival San Diego 

The GI Film Festival San Diego is a multi-day showcase of films for, by, and about military and veteran experiences. Films featured in the festival reveal the struggles, triumphs, and experiences of service members and veterans. The festival also provides veterans and service members with an opportunity to further their creative skills.

Documentaries, shorts, narratives, and feature-length films are presented. The festival includes locally-connected films, which feature San Diego’s filmmakers, events, people, or places. Post-screening discussions with filmmakers, film subjects, actors, and subject-matter experts are also part of the festival.

The festival, established in 2015, is organized by KPBS in partnership with the Film Consortium San Diego.

The 2022 festival is sponsored in part by Military Times, Scatena Daniels Communications, New York Film Academy, SAG-AFTRA, Union Bank and Veterans United Home Loans of San Diego. Additional support is provided by a grant from the California Health Care Foundation.

The GI Film Festival San Diego is a proud member of the San Diego Veterans Coalition and the San Diego Military Family Collaborative.

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 connects, reflects and serves all of our communities with trusted programming and dialogue. KPBS delivers this content to more than 1.3 million audience members weekly via multiple platforms, including television, radio, and digital media. As a public service of San Diego State University, education is a core value – from children’s programming to community discussions on important issues our region is facing, to local news coverage. KPBS provides stories that make us think, help us dream, and keep us connected. For more information, visit