ffow-gi-film-fest.jpgWar movies have always held a special place in the annals of American film history, often going beyond simple entertainment to support or critique our nation’s turbulent military past. The current conflict in Iraq, which is quickly becoming a popular topic for modern moviemakers, has sparked heated debates over the U.S.’s involvement in Middle Eastern politics. But what is often overlooked is the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who are serving overseas.

It was with this oversight in mind that Brandon Millet founded the G.I. Film Festival, which will hold its first annual event over Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C. “We wanted to do something to focus public attention on the courage and selflessness [of American soldiers],” Millet explains. “After all, our soldiers don’t get to choose the conflict. They just put on their helmets and go to work when called, and we have the privilege of living our lives secure in the knowledge that they are protecting us.”

As the first festival of its kind in the U.S., the G.I. Film Festival will likely attract a diverse range of attendees, from veterans and military families to politicians and moviemakers. Actor Gary Sinise (Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump) and director Ron Maxwell (Gods and Generals, Gettysburg), among others, will be attending this year’s event. The festival will feature a total of 21 films over three days (including several classic films) all celebrating, as the festival’s motto states, “the success and sacrifices of American soldiers.”

For more information, visit www.gifilmfestival.com.

Sound Off: Do you think the festival circuit needs more niche festivals like the G.I. Film Fest? What would be your pick for a never-before-seen festival theme? Let us know in the comments section!