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GI Film Festival San Diego Rolls Out the Red Carpet with In-Person Screenings in Balboa Park

Military-themed film festival returns to Museum of Photographic Arts May 17-21, 2022

SAN DIEGO, CA – March 10, 2022 – Making its return to the big screen is the GI Film Festival San Diego, a multi-day military-themed event dedicated to presenting films and events for, by and about military and veterans. This year’s film festival is scheduled for May 17-21, 2022 with all screenings happening in-person at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park.

Coming back home

When the pandemic hit two years ago, the GI Film Festival San Diego moved to an online format with a Virtual Showcase in October 2020 and the annual festival in May 2021. The online screenings included panel discussions with filmmakers and film subjects from around the world.

“Through the pandemic, the GI Film Festival San Diego continued to present films to not only keep our audience members entertained and engaged, but also to stay connected during a time when we all felt a little isolated,” says Nancy Worlie, Interim General Manager, KPBS. “Although we were miles apart, the film festival offered a great sense of camaraderie and we were thankful for the opportunity to come together with new and longtime festival-goers, filmmakers, film subjects and military supporters.”

This year’s five-day in-person event will feature an array of films, including documentaries, narratives, feature-lengths, and shorts. In addition to the film screenings, attendees will enjoy captivating post-screening discussions with filmmakers, film subjects, actors, and subject-matter experts. The festival culminates with the Awards Celebration, taking place at MOPA on Saturday, May 21 with Los Angeles-based stand-up comedian, musician, radio broadcaster, and U.S. military veteran and advocate, Thom Tran, returning as the event host.

“This year, we’re excited to celebrate in-person with our hard-working local, national and international filmmakers who continued to create films during the pandemic. The GI Film Festival is the perfect venue to share  their talents, untold stories and creativity and their filmmaking gives us theatergoers a chance to escape, imagine and explore in the worlds they created,” says Worlie.

All films shown at the in-person screenings will also be available as a video on demand rental (VOD), beginning the day after its festival debut through Memorial Day, May 30, 2022. This gives festival fans who are not able to attend the screenings in-person, the flexibility to participate and enjoy the films whenever and wherever they choose within the rental window. 

The online box office will open in early April. At that time, attendees will have the option to reserve film or film block for VOD or secure a ticket for the in-person screening. Tickets for most in-person screenings start at $10 each or $8 for military, veterans, and KPBS members. VOD rentals will be $10 each. Guests attending in-person screenings will be asked to observe and follow COVID-19 policies.

The full film lineup, schedule, and COVID-19 policies will be announced in late March. For up-to-date information on this year’s film festival, how to attend and ways to get involved, visit

From the beginning

Since its inception in 2015, the GI Film Festival San Diego has presented more than 210 films from international, U.S., and San Diego County filmmakers, and has attracted thousands of attendees from various backgrounds. The film festival is dedicated to bridging the military-civilian divide with each film selected telling a compelling and unique story. The GI Film Festival San Diego challenges the notions about what it means to serve, goes beyond one-dimensional depictions of veterans, service members, their caregivers and families, and provides a platform for service members-turned-filmmakers to showcase their creative stories on the big screen.  

Over the years, the festival has also hosted several celebrities whose films had been presented at GI Film Festival San Diego events, including documentary filmmakers Ken Burns and Ric Burns; actor and activist George Takei; actor Matthew Marsden; actor/producer/director Jeffrey Wright; and actor/director Brenda Strong.

Every year, members of the GI Film Festival San Diego advisory committee help review films for the final festival selection. The film festival has active support from several military and veteran-related organizations, such as Project Recover, Workshops for Warriors, Travis Manion Foundation, Elizabeth Hospice, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Blue Star Families San Diego, Wounded Warrior Project, American History Theatre, San Diego Military Family Collaborative, Armed Services YMCA, Southern Caregiver Resource Center, and Courage to Call. Members of the advisory committee also come from SAG-AFTRA and many have military backgrounds, having served in the US Marine Corps, US Air Force, US Navy, US Army and the Air Force Reserves. Several are military or veteran spouses. All committee members volunteer their time, talent, and expertise to ensure the festival provides an authentic view of the military experience and engages its audience through post-screening discussions.

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 the Local Film Showcase, which features 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 to present the Local Film Showcase.

The 2022 festival is sponsored in part by SAG-AFTRA, Veterans United Home Loans of San DiegoMilitary Times, and Scatena Daniels Communications.  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