Hollywood Salutes Veterans

On Veteran’s Day weekend 2012, I attended the 6th annual GI Film Festival (GIFF) at the Los Angeles Film School. For us locals, there are tons of film festivals where you can watch great films and mingle with celebs and industry folk, but this one is special in that it celebrates America GIs.

Let’s call it “Sundance for the Troops,” the GIFF is the first to exclusively honor the heroic stories of the American Armed Forces through the medium of film. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the successes and sacrifices our fighting men and women make for us and this country.

While at the event, I heard Scott Howe, operation manager for The Pentagon Channel (TPC), talk about the channel and its partnership with GIIF. TPC is an effort on the part of the Department of Defense (DOD) to reach out to military people and share their experience in and out of the arena of war. Programming speaks directly to military men and women – those who serve on active duty, as well as those in the guard or reserves – and their lifestyle, which is unique in so many ways.

Howe said, “It’s not just about putting on a uniform and firing a weapon oversees at war. It is living in base housing, having a family member who stays behind to raise the kids, or having a spouse who changes jobs every three years when the military spouse changes assignments.”

TPC teamed up with GIFF to produce a movie night for its viewers in a two-hour block of feature and short films each week.  Most of these films are screened at GIFF, but they do acquire content from other sources. Howe encouraged filmmakers to submit projects directly to TPC.

So, listen up all you filmmakers – whether you’re new or established, domestic or international – if you have a project that speaks to what it’s like to be a military person and live that unique lifestyle, you can email him at scott.howe@dma.mil.  They are beginning to look at material for Season 2 of GIIF on TPC, which will probably start airing in May to coincide with the DC GI Film Festival. And, while Howe doesn’t have funds to pay filmmakers at this time, he does tout the exposure your film will get on TPC (which reaches 34 million homes).

Also, the call for entries for next year’s GI Film Festival (May 6-12, 2013) is now open. Submit here.

What are you waiting for?

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About kristinmartell:
Kristin Martell is a Pacific Punch Correspondent and Author of Damn the Odds. A recent Los Angeles transplant from Washington, DC, she’s pursuing her dream of acting while working as a PR consultant. Visit her at www.damntheodds.com. Follow the Pacific Punch on twitter @ThePacificPunch.
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