The Fifth Annual GI Film Festival Wraps with Film Awards

GIFF Best of Film  2011
Photo Credit: Vithaya Phongsavan

The Fifth Annual GI Film Festival Wraps with Film Awards

Gary Sinise, William Devane and Lou Diamond Phillips among special guests


WASHINGTON, DC, May 17, 2011 – The Fifth Annual GI Film Festival (, the nation’s only film festival dedicated to celebrating the stories of our nation’s Armed Forces, wrapped on May 15 with an awards ceremony for its best films.  The festival started on May 9 and included 31 film premieres, red carpet events, parties, musical performances and celebrity appearances.

The following are the GI Film Festival 2011 award-winning films:

  • Military Channel Award:  “Shepherds of Helmand,” directed by Gary Mortensen
  • Best International Film:  “The Telegram Man” (Australia), directed by James Khehtie
  • Best Student Film:  “Thule,” directed by Robert Scott Wildes
  • Best Narrative Short:  “A Marine’s Guide to Fishing,” directed by Nicholas Brennan
  • Best Documentary Short:  “Last to Leave,” directed by Pat Clark
  • Best Narrative Feature:  “Flag of My Father,” directed by Rodney Ray
  • Best Documentary Feature:  “Patrol Base Jaker,” directed by David Scantling
  • Founder’s Choice Award:  “The Wereth Eleven,” directed by Robert Child

The GI Film Festival also awarded actor Lou Diamond Phillips the festival’s GI Spirit Award, which is presented to an entertainer who embodies the spirit of an American GI in their creative and philanthropic work; and honored actor William Devane with The GI Choice Award, which is presented to an entertainer who has portrayed classic GI characters in film.

Lou Diamond Phillips with LTC & Mrs. Martin
Photo Credit: Vithaya Phongsavan

Past GI Spirit Award Winner Gary Sinise and Florida Congressman Allen West honored Korean War Veterans during the festival’s congressional reception to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.

Other GIFF 2011 highlights included:  A Wounded Warrior Appreciation Night featuring the DC Premiere of the action feature film “Ironclad,” starring James Purefoy, Kate Mara, Brian Cox and Paul Giamatti; a block of international films hosted by the Canadian Embassy; a filmmaker boot camp featuring top Hollywood producers, directors and financiers and hosted by GI Film Festival Chairman Stephen K. Bannon; and a kick-off party at Policy DC.

GIFF Filmmakers
Photo Credit: Vithaya Phongsavan

GI Film Festival filmmakers also visited wounded warriors at Walter Reed hospital and toured the Pentagon as well.  The majority of the festival’s film premieres took place in the Arleigh Burke Theater inside the U.S. Navy Memorial.  Other venues included the Canadian Embassy and the Capitol Visitor’s Center.

“There is no question our audiences were blown away by the quality of this year’s line-up.  From start to finish this was our best festival yet.  Our heartfelt thanks go out to all of the people who made this festival possible, including our filmmakers, our volunteers, our attendees, and our sponsors.  And of course, none of this would be possible without the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces who continue to inspire our filmmakers with their courage and selflessness,” stated GI Film Festival Co-founder and President Brandon L. Millett.

Sponsors for GI Film Festival 2011 include:  The Military Channel, USAA, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, American Airlines, The Washington Examiner, Stars and Stripes,, WILL Interactive, KW60, Coca Cola, and The American Legion, WUSA-9 and Metromix DC.

About the GI Film Festival

The GI Film Festival, a 501(c)3 non-profit public education foundation, is the first and only film festival in the nation dedicated to the American Armed Forces.  Co-founded by Brandon Millett and Laura Law-Millett, the festival’s mission is to honor the successes and sacrifices of American GIs through the medium of film.  Visit for more information.

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Download Official Media Release GIFF 2011 Line-up Release LONG FINAL