This past week, the GI Film Festival was back in D.C. for its fifth-annual, weeklong exhibition of films honoring the U.S. Armed Forces. Described by some as “Sundance for the troops,” it’s an opportunity for audiences to better appreciate the sacrifice of military life, both in and out of combat zones. The themes, tones, lengths and styles of the films screened vary, but all in some way revere the men and women who serve.
It was nice to see some big stars show their support for GIFF, the first and only film festival dedicated to the U.S. Armed Forces. Steadfast friend of the military and 2007 GI Spirit Award-winner Gary Sinise hosted a congressional reception for Korean War Veterans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of their service. Friday night, Lou Diamond Phillips was feted with the GI Spirit Award; and William Devane – star of Flag of My Father, which made its DC premiere at the festival – was presented this year’s GI Choice Award. The Real M.A.S.H., a documentary about actual Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals in the Korean War and behind-the-scenes insight about the characters, events and controversies of the hit TV series, made its U.S. premiere on Tuesday night’s salute to international warriors. Paul Giamatti’s 13th century-based feature film Ironclad made its DC-premiere on Wounded Warrior Appreciation Night.
Film has the power to make stories resonate with viewers on a very personal level; the full gamut of human emotions can be provoked by a single movie. At the GIFF, film also compels us to consider – in a concrete way – the sacrifice of military life, thank the men and women who serve, and think about what can be done to better serve those who serve this country. We are proud sponsors of the GI Film Festival and salute their efforts to honor U.S. Service Members past and present.