TR Robertson… The GI Film Festival returns to San Diego for the 3rd straight year, beginning on October 18th with the West Coast premiere of “The 2 Sides Project”. The 5 day GI Film Festival is one of a few festivals in the United States which features stories by, for and about military service members and veterans. Film screenings will take place in North County at the Regal Carlsbad on Thursday, then move to the AMC Mission Valley 20 on Saturday and Sunday and events in Balboa Park and Downtown San Diego and on the USS Midway and at SDSU. The screenings will also feature appearances by some of the filmmakers, panel discussions and other events.
To begin, Festival sponsors staged a kick-off celebration held aboard the San Diego Maritime Museum Steam Ferry Berkeley on Tuesday. The festival is organized by the KPBS station in sponsorship with GI Film Group and Film Consortium along with sponsors Kaminskiy Design and Remodeling, City National Bank, National City Mile of Cars, Altus Schools, Bob Baker Subaru and GEICO Military with additional support from Scatena Daniels Communication. Alaska Airlines is the official sponsor.
Welcome and introductions were made by Tom Karlo, General Manager of KPBS, who pointed out that San Diego County is the home of 7 major military bases, has the largest veteran population of any city in the country, and home to over 100,000 active duty military personnel. KPBS also employees a full time military reporter, Steve Walsh. Dr. Ray Ashley, Pres./CEO of the Maritime Museum introduced one of the featured writers in attendance, Guy Gugliotta. Guy is one of three editors of Swift Boats at War in Vietnam, a collection of 38 first-hand accounts of life on board the swift boats patrolling the rivers during the Vietnam conflict. Also in attendance was the other two editors, John Yeoman and Neva Sullaway, as well as Senyint Chim, a contributing writer to the book. Chim is a middle school math teacher for San Diego Unified. Tied up next to the Berkeley is the Swift Boat PTF-816, which is also used for Bay Tours for the Maritime Museum. Attendees can also take Bay Tours on the Pilot Boat and the Californian. Also in attendance was Royce Williams, a Korean War veteran and featured in the short film showcase, “Forgotten Hero”, shown on Saturday, Oct 21 in Mission Valley.
The kick-off celebration agenda ended with an 11 minute overview of several of the movies to be shown, including – “Gary Sinise: Always Do a Little More” and “The Rifleman’s Violin”, an interesting movie about Stuart Canin, a rifleman in WW II who played the violin and was invited to perform for Harry Truman, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin. The Family movie night movie that will be shown aboard the USS Midway will be the hit “Wonder Woman”.
For those interested in attending any or all of the GI Film Festival events, go to www.GIFilmFestivalSD.org for all access passes and information about the festival and the 30 films, 8 of them West Coast premieres. One of the films is a feature length film at the Regal Carlsbad 12, on Thursday, Oct. 19th, entitled “Thank You for Your Service”. The film is R rated and will be officially released nationwide on October 27th. Screening is free, but advanced registration is required.
San Diego Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum is San Diego’s only waterfront Museum with 10 historic vessel tours and on the water harbor cruises offered in several of these vessels. The museum is open 365 days a year. In the museum are a number of models of famous ships and vessels from different time periods as well as other exhibits. A huge Lego model of a sailing vessel can be found mixed with the other models. Cost for entrance is $18 for adults, $13 for Seniors and Military, $8 for children. There are additional charges for the bay cruises depending on the vessel. The San Salvador, a replica of Juan Cabrillo’s galleon also offers 4 hour cruises. Other vessels that are included in the museum entrance are The Star of India – the oldest active sailing ship in the world, the HMS Surprise – a 18th century Royal Navy Frigate, the USS Dolphin – the deepest diving submarine in the world, the Medea – a 1904 steam yacht, the Californian – built in San Diego and the B-39 – one of a fleet of diesel-electric submarines. Visitors enter on the Berkeley, a 1898 steam ferry boat that operated in San Francisco for 60 years. A gift shop is located on the Berkeley. Beginning on November 4th, a new exhibit will open called Rum – Sailors, Pirates and Prohibition. The museum is located next to the Star of India at 1492 N. Harbor Drive. For more information and directions, go to www.sdmaritime.org.