“Sundance for the Troops” is coming attraction for D.C. area.
As a screenwriter and a former filmmaker with little success, I took an interest lately in the G.I. Film Festival (aka GIFF). According to their website, GIFF is “501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the stories of military veterans past and present. The GI Film Festival also promotes the creative work of military veteran filmmakers and helps train members of the U.S. Armed Forces for success in the entertainment industry.” Co-founders of GIFF include Brandon Millet and Laura Law-Millet. The G.I. Film Festival enters its 9th year of presenting military themed films and documentaries beginning May 18th and running until May 24, 2015. All of the films are shown in various locations in the Washington D.C. area. The mission of the GI Film Festival is to preserve the stories of the American GI and honor their service and sacrifices through the medium of film and TV. Based on the trailers I have watched on the website, GIFF is doing an excellent job of fulfilling their mission.
Types of films
The G.I. Film Festival is unique in that all films are military oriented. There are numerous categories from the website. What’s great is that people of all ages are encouraged to submit their films to the festival for screening and possible inclusion to the festival. A person does not have to be a veteran in order to submit a film in some categories. The types of films include the following:
- Narrative Feature – Feature films (or narrative features) will highlight the successes and sacrifices of American military servicemen and women and/or the general worldwide struggle for liberty and democracy. All filmmakers with Narrative Feature films that have at least one main character serving in the U.S. military who is depicted with respect are encouraged to submit. Filmmakers who serve, or have served in the U.S. Military, may submit a film of any genre, regardless of whether or not the film features servicemen and women.
- Documentary Feature – Feature Documentaries will highlight the successes and sacrifices of the military servicemen and women OR the general worldwide struggle for liberty and democracy. Film 60 minutes – 120 minutes.
- Narrative Short – Narrative short films will highlight the successes and sacrifices of American military servicemen and women or the general worldwide struggle for liberty and democracy. Films 59 min or shorter.
- Documentary Short – Documentary short films will highlight the successes and sacrifices of American military servicemen and women OR the general worldwide struggle for liberty and democracy. Films 59 min or shorter.
- Student Short Film – STUDENT SHORT FILM category will in some way depict the courage and selflessness of American GIs. High school and college students are welcome to submit. Films 59 min or shorter.
- International Film – International submissions to the GI Film Festival will focus on the worldwide struggle for freedom and the battle against tyranny.
- Military Veteran Narrative – Any genre film on any topic with an above the line military member in crew.
- High School – Veteran Interview – HS Student filmmakers must interview a veteran and make a 3-5 minute video for submission.
- Narrative Feature Screenplay – Screenplay for a film 60 pages or longer.
- Military Family Return Video – 3-8 minute video of a military member returning home from deployment.
- Narrative Short Screen Play – Scripts 59 pages or less.
- Original Songwriting & Performance - Any song of any genre – written by and performed by veterans (video entries of performance). Song to be judged on quality of music, not video quality.
- Teleplay for TV – Script for a 30 min TV or web series.
- Written Word and Poetry – Any poetry or creative writing about a military experience or any genre created by a military veteran less than 5 pages.
- Reality Show – 5-20 pages for a reality show treatment.
- Music Video – Any music video 10 minutes or less.
It’s not too late to enter the 2015 GIFF film festival, but time is running short as notification of selected films is on April 10, 2015. If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area this would be a fantastic time to grab a few tickets to several films and kick back with family or friends to watch some great work. For those of you veterans with the knack for writing screenplays and/or making films, consider a 2016 entry. I’ve already got an idea for 2016. See you there?