The GI Film Festival Is Moving Online for 2020 and You Can Attend

She Wore Silver Wings
"She Wore Silver Wings" (archival photo)

The GI Film Festival San Diego, delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, has moved its 2020 edition online and will take place this Thursday and Friday, Oct. 1-2. This move makes it possible for everyone to participate, and a $10 ticket gets you complete access to the event from the comfort of your couch.

The in-person event is scheduled to return May 18-23, 2021. The organizers have used this opportunity to highlight some of the "greatest hits" from past festivals and feature one newcomer. Each movie has previously screened at either the San Diego or Washington, D.C., editions of the festival.

After each film block, there will be a post-screening discussion with filmmakers, subjects and local experts about the important issues raised in the films.

Your ticket gets you access to a private link for both the screenings and post-film discussions. Details about the schedule are below. We're all looking forward to the day when festivals like this can proceed as normal, but credit to the GIFF for devising a way to continue its mission in troubled times.

Thursday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT -- Untold Stories

"The Rifleman's Violin"

With wit and verve, 90-year-old virtuoso violinist Stuart Canin recounts his deployment to the German front as a 19-year-old GI with his rifle and violin on his back during World War II. Documentary Short / 14 minutes / 2014 / 2017 GI Film Festival San Diego Official Selection

"Rescue Men: The Story of the Pea Island Life Savers"

The Pea Island Life Savers was an all Black lifeguard station that performed many daring rescues from 1880 to the closing of the station in 1947. A former slave and Civil War veteran, Richard Etheridge, the only Black man to lead a lifesaving crew, was its captain. Documentary Feature / 60 minutes / 2010 / 2015 GI Film Festival in Washington, D.C., Official Selection

Thursday, Oct. 1, at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT -- Surviving War: Post-9/11 Story Film Block

"No Greater Love"

An Army chaplain looks at combat deployment in Afghanistan and the struggles returning soldiers face. The film shows the experience of war, but more importantly, helps viewers understand the personal struggles of soldiers. Documentary Feature / 97 minutes / 2015 / 2016 GI Film Festival in Washington, D.C., Official Selection

Friday, Oct. 2, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT -- Forgotten History: World War II Pilots

"In Their Own Words: The Tuskegee Airmen"

The story of the first African American pilots of the U.S. Army Air Force who flew mission after mission protecting the men who were flying the bombers during WWII. Documentary Short / 44 minutes / 2012

"She Wore Silver Wings"

The true story of WWII Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) is told through Jean Landis ​--​ a San Diego County resident who was part of this elite group that volunteered their services by ferrying fighter planes, test-flying new and repaired planes, and towing targets in the air for artillery practice. Documentary Short / 31 minutes / 2010 / Winner of "Audience Choice" Award in the 2015 GI Film Festival San Diego

Friday, Oct. 2, at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT -- Women Who Served in Vietnam

"Donut Dollies"

Two former Red Cross Donut Dollies reunite in Vietnam to retrace their steps and ask whether they made a difference during the Vietnam War. Documentary Feature / 85 minutes / 2018 / Winner of "Best Documentary Feature" in the 2019 GI Film Festival San Diego

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