What you need to know about the 2022 GI Film Festival San Diego
After two years of virtual screenings, this year’s event will be held in person at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park
GI Film Festival San Diego is back in action.
The annual affair — which highlights films for, by and about veterans — kicks off Tuesday and runs through next Saturday. It aims to preserve military history, bridge divisions between military and civilians, and honor those who have served. After two years of virtual screenings, this year’s event will once again be held in person at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
The festival is presented by KPBS, in partnership with Film Consortium San Diego. Jodi Cilley — the founder and president of Film Consortium San Diego — said the team is excited for the event’s return to pre-pandemic times.
“There’s nothing better than sitting in a theater next to the WWII veteran you see on screen or hearing first-hand from a film subject on their war experience, or even talking to a filmmaker who served in the Vietnam War finally getting to tell their story,” Cilley said in a statement. “The GI Film Festival San Diego brings together our troops and civilians, and that is what makes this event so special, unique and an experience like no other. ”
Here’s what you need to know about the 2022 GI Film Festival.
Screening Wednesday, it’s one of over 25 movies at the 2022 GI Film Festival San Diego
In total, there will be 27 films: 13 narrative stories and 14 documentaries. Themes include post-traumatic stress, veteran suicide, women in service, and transitioning to civilian life, as well as highlight experiences from World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and present day.
The showcase serves as the home of five world premieres, four West Coast premieres, and 13 San Diego premieres. There will also be local filmmakers featured at the event, including Jonathan Hammond (“We All Die Alone”) and Scott Campbell (“Down on the Ranch”).
From student projects to international movies, here are a few highlights and where they fall on the lineup. (Many of the films will also host panel discussions with the filmmakers after the screenings; see website for details.)
- Opening night’s selection “Dear Sirs” is a biography that follows the journey of filmmaker Mark Pedri, who honors his late grandfather by biking 500 miles across Europe on original Prisoner of War transportation routes. 7 p.m. Tuesday.
- “A Long March” brings to light the unjust treatment of veterans from the Philippines who were forced to serve in World War II, then denied benefits or recognition of that service. 5 p.m. Wednesday.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder is front and center in “HERE. IS. BETTER.,” which grants the audience access to trauma therapy sessions of veterans struggling with the disorder. 7:15 p.m. Thursday.
- Inspired by an off-Broadway play, “Landing Home” chronicles the struggles of a combat soldier transitioning to civilian life. 7 p.m. Friday.
- “Into Flight Once More” honors the 75th Anniversary of D-Day by highlighting squadron members in 2019 that recreated the historic flight journey of those World War II veterans. Noon Saturday.
While this year’s festival will be in-person, people still have the option to watch films online. VOD passes grant users virtual access to all movies, which can be viewed from the day after each film’s in-person festival debut until May 30.
In addition to the screenings, a virtual workshop titled “How to Craft a Low Budget Story” will be offered from 1-2 p.m. on Thursday. Led by New York Film Academy instructors Sanora Bartels and Crickett Rumley, the free event features a conversation about creative writing, Q&A session, and roundtable discussion. Though open to the public, it is geared toward independent filmmakers seeking to create a high-quality movie on a tight budget.
On closing night, comedian and veteran Thom Tran will host an awards celebration at 7 p.m. that presents honors in 13 categories. In addition to the ceremony, there will be complimentary refreshments and lots of mingling — the perfect chance to reflect on the five-day long festivities. General admission tickets are $40 and $35 for nominees, military, veterans, or KPBS Members.
In-person attendees must be fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 lab test result prior to entering, and proof of vaccination or negative test result is required. Guests are encouraged to download and use the digital verification app Bindle; paper credentials also accepted. Facial coverings are highly encouraged.
GI Film Festival
When: Opens Tuesday and runs through next Saturday.
Where: Museum of Photographic Arts, 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park
Tickets: Tickets are $10 to the public or $8 for military, veterans, and KPBS members. All-access passes are $125 (in person) and $75 (virtual).
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