After a busy week and a half that included final exams, daily meetings with various government agencies, international delegations, volunteering at the DC Child and Family Services Agency 5th Annual Youth Fashion Show and Stand Up! for Fashion event, and some other life changing and hair “Raising” experiences, we were finally able to make it down to the U.S. Navy Memorial for the closing night of the 5th annual GI Film Festival.The GI Film Festival was founded in 2006 by husband and wife team Brandon L. Millett and Major Laura Law in response to the lack of quality films portraying American service members. The mission of the GI Film Festival is “to honor the American men and women in uniform and the world-wide struggle for freedom and democracy.” The GI Film Festival is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.The five day event brings together luminaries from Hollywood, Congress and the Military. The Festival’s program line-up offers moviegoers a wide variety of independent films including documentaries, narrative features, and shorts, as well as a program of panel discussions.
Sunday’s wrap up to the festival showcased films by Staff Sgt. Folleh Tamba of the US Marine Corp and Will Furman. Furman’s film, Beyond Courage spotlighted the story of four American prisoners-of-war that were held in the infamous Hanoi Hilton.It chronicles their trip back to the Hanoi Hilton decades later as they reflect on the bonds that were formed with their fellow captives and there experiences during the longest wartime captivity in U.S. history. Line of Departure focused on Tamba’s own story as an immigrant of Sierra Leone and Liberian heritage, how he survived a civil war and now is going to war for his adopted country of the United States. The moving film allows the viewer to follow his journey as he shares his most personal thoughts in the hours leading up to his deployment.
The night and the festival as a whole culminated with an awards ceremony and a grand cake cutting celebrating the festival’s 5th year of excellence in honoring those who have fought and who continue to fight for freedom. Checkout some pictures from the night’s festivities.