SAN DIEGO–The GI Film Festival San Diego will host a virtual panel of filmmakers, “Get to Know the GI Film Festival San Diego: Film Screenings, Filmmakers, and How-To’s” on January 14 in San Diego.
The 1 p.m. event will introduce the festival to potential filmmakers in San Diego county and throughout the state.
The virtual panel will feature filmmakers whose works have been featured in previous GI Film Festival San Diego screenings. Attendees will hear about their experiences during and following participation in the festival. The panel will also feature key festival partners with insight in the local filmmaking industry. The discussion aims to encourage aspiring and veteran filmmakers to connect and discuss industry insights, but also submit their work to festival organizers before Jan. 20 to be considered for the GI Film Festival San Diego slated for May 18 to 23.
The panel features Manny Marquez for “Operation Allie” (2016 GI Film Festival San Diego) and “XVII Carvings” (2019 GI FIlm Festival San Diego); Sara Vladic and Melanie Capacia Johnson for “USS Indianapolis: The Legacy” (2016 GI Film Festival San Diego), and Jodi Cilley, founder and president, Film Consortium San Diego.
“The film industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, delaying and even cancelling film productions, premieres, and festival screening dates,” says Cilley. “But what we have seen are filmmakers coming up with new and exciting ways to film. We’re seeing creative stories that may not have come to light if it weren’t for the challenges the pandemic provided.”
For six years, the festival has helped bring independent films to the big screen that film fans wouldn’t otherwise see come out of Hollywood. The event will also include a screening of selections and excerpts from the filmmakers on the panel.
Filmmakers and presenters will also share best practices on how to submit films to the 2021 GI Film Festival San Diego. To be selected for the 2021 GI Film Festival San Diego, films must have been completed after January 1, 2018 and meet at least one of the following criteria:
A storyline or narrative arc that is about the military experience, past or current day, USA or international, during service or back home after service.
A film of any genre, military-themed or not, featuring above the line talent who is currently serving or has served in the U.S. military. Above the line talent includes: director, writer, producer and/or principal actor/actress.
“Submitting to film festivals is still important and needs to be a priority for filmmakers,” says Cilley. “We not only need to see, but also celebrate untold stories. The GI Film Festival San Diego accepts submissions from across the U.S. and abroad. From active duty military to veterans to student filmmakers, we’re calling on submissions from anyone with the passion to create.” The final submission deadline is Jan. 20.
Festival organizers are excited to bring together again active duty military, veterans, families and allies to all that the GI Film Festival San Diego has to offer. Over multiple days, the GI Film Festival San Diego features films that reveal the struggles, triumphs, and experiences of service members and veterans through compelling and authentic storytelling. All major film genres, including documentaries, shorts, and personal narratives, will be featured. Festival organizers are encouraging film submissions that reflect and amplify the diverse experiences of U.S. military and veterans, including stories by or about people of different ethnicities, races, genders, economic backgrounds, and those who identify LGBTQIA. These perspectives play an important role in U.S. military history and culture, and are too often untold.
The films are reviewed and selected by a dedicated advisory committee made up of several local military-related organizations, individuals who come from various military backgrounds, including veterans of the US Marine Corps, US Air Force, US Navy, US Army, US Coast Guard, and the Air Force Reserves, and several military spouses. The committee helps to ensure the festival provides an authentic view of the military experience and engages its audience through post-screening discussions.
Since 2015, the GI Film Festival San Diego has presented more than 170 films and attracted thousands of attendees from around the world. As a community effort to help bridge the military-civilian divide, each film selected tells a compelling and unique story to challenge notions about what it means to serve and goes beyond the one-dimensional depictions of veterans, service members, their caregivers, and families that we typically see on the big screen.
GI Film Festival San Diego has also gained the attention of several celebrities that took part in films selected for the festival, including documentary filmmakers Ken Burns and Ric Burns; actor and activist George Takei; actor Matthew Marsden; actor, producer, director Jeffrey Wright; and actor and director Brenda Strong.
Films selected and events for the 2021 GI Film Festival San Diego will be announced in March 2021. For more information on the festival, its submission process, and the virtual panel discussion planned for Jan. 14, visit www.GIFilmFestivalSD.org
The festival is funded in part by a grant from the California Arts Council. Additional support is provided by Scatena Daniels Communications. The GI Film Festival San Diego is a member of the San Diego Veterans Coalition and the San Diego Military Family Collaborative.