In collaboration with Fathom Events, organizers for the GI Film Festival—the country’s only military film festival—are taking their annual event nationwide with The GI Film Festival Cinematic Salute to the Troops on Thursday, April 7 in 400 U.S. theaters.
The military nonprofit GI Film Group, which will host its 10th annual GI Film Festival (GIFF) in Washington, D.C. in May, will present the two-hour, star-packed cinematic event as a way to expand its message of supporting veterans to communities across the nation.
GIFF CEO Brandon Millett, who co-founded the non-profit film fest with his wife Laura, hopes to preserve the stories of America’s men and women in uniform through promoting their film and TV projects.
During a conversation with Breitbart News, Millett explains why GIFF decided to create the Cinematic Salute.
“Over the years we’ve heard time and time again at our DC fest, ‘when are you bringing the GI Film Festival to our hometown?’ And we have long been looking for a way to scale the festival nationally and to bring our message and our films to communities across the country,” Millett says. “Thanks to Fathom Events, this is now possible through our Cinematic Salute.”
As GIFF celebrates 10 years of military filmmaking, the organization hopes to expand its veteran-supporting audience by packing the best parts of the actual festival into a two-hour a show for a national audience.
“What we have done with this Cinematic Salute is to take the very best parts of attending the real GI Film Fest and package it into one two-hour dynamic show,” says Millett. “We’re featuring two incredible stories, celebrity appearances, interviews with real military heroes, stand-up comedy and more.”
Those who buy a ticket to Thursday screening’s will be treated to two short films, Climb and The Real Inglorious Bastards, in addition to an interview with World War II veteran Fred Mayer, who stars in Bastards.
Climb is a 15-minute documentary short that is narrated by actor Gary Sinise, and tells the story of double amputee Rob Jones, who biked across the country to raise money for veteran charities. The Real Inglorious Bastards, also a documentary, tells the true story of a group of Jewish refugees who joined the U.S. military and returned to Germany.
The pre-recorded Cinematic Salute also features interviews with actors Gary Sinise and Danny Trejo, and appearances by First lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden.
As Millett notes: “Our men and women in uniform show up every day to defend our great country. And so we say, let’s all show up for just one night to see their stories on screen and to express our gratitude and appreciation for all they do. And the fact we can all have a great time too? All the better.”
The event will also feature a sneak peek at the upcoming military apocalyptic film Range 15, which was written and produced by veterans of the U.S. military.
Actor and decorated former Marine officer Dale Dye (Born on the 4th of July, Saving Private Ryan), who portrays the President of the United States in the movie, is a long-time advocate for the GI Film Fest.
Dye, who has worked as both an actor and a consultant on some of Hollywood’s biggest war films, tells Breitbart News exclusively: “I was at the very first GI Film Festival ten years ago and it is so great to see how much the festival has grown.”
Dye adds: “No organization is doing more to preserve the stories of our veterans than this festival. And I can tell you this from experience, no organization puts on a better show. So folks who support our service-members really need to get themselves to the theater onThursday. It’ll be a great time for a great cause.”
Range 15 also stars William Shatner, Sean Astin and Danny Trejo.
Marine veteran and actor Adam Driver (Girls, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) will then speak about what it’s like to be a veteran working in the film industry.
Navy veteran Jamie Kaler, who hosts America: Facts vs. Fiction on the American Heroes Channel, will act the show’s emcee.
Tickets for The GI Film Festival Cinematic Salute to the Troops, which are only $15, can be purchased online at the Fathom Events website.
For a complete list of theater locations, click here.
The 10th GI Film Festival (GIFFX) will be held May 21 to May 29, at three separate locations in Washington, D.C. and one in Northern Virginia.
Hollywood actor and veterans’ advocate Gary Sinise will open the 10-day festival at the historical Howard Theatre in Washington.
Speaking directly to Breitbart News, Sinise praises the GI Film Festival for celebrating the service of our brave men and women and for highlighting their positive contributions to film:
I’ve been a proud supporter of the GI Film Festival since their inaugural year when they approached me about receiving the first GI Spirit Award. The following year, the documentary film by Jake Rademacher, Brothers at War, which I executive produced, won Best Documentary and nearly each year since I have been able to participate in this wonderful festival that celebrates the service of our men and women fun uniform through positive portrayals in film.
Sinise adds: “This May I will once again support GIFF by opening their tenth anniversary season with a concert on May 21 at the Howard Theatre.”
The festival will feature 70-plus independent film screenings throughout more than a week of receptions and parties.
Click here for more information about the festival.