From its inception, the GI Film Festival has made it a priority to recognize members of the entertainment community who support our men and women in uniform.
That’s why we created the GI Spirit Award, which is presented to an entertainer who embodies the spirit of an American GI in their creative and philanthropic work. In the past, GIFF has honored entertainers such as Gary Sinise, Jon Voight, Lou Diamond Phillips, Ricky Schroder, Joe Mantegna, Wynonna Judd, Karri Turner and Robert Davi.
And on Friday night, May 23rd, the “GI Spirit Award” tradition continues, as the festival hosts a special presentation honoring the late award-winning actor James Gandolfini. On-hand to receive the GI Spirit Award will be Mr. Gandolfini’s sisters, Johanna Antonacci and Leta Gandolfini, as well as family friends Bernadette and Tom Richardson.
Mr. Gandolfini’s prestigious acting career spanned 25 years, and included many memorable performances in films and television shows such as The Sopranos, Zero Dark Thirty, The Taking of Pelham 123, Romance and Cigarettes, The Last Castle and All the King’s Men, to name just a few.
However, it is Mr. Gandolfini’s remarkable work on the HBO Documentary Films “Wartorn” and the Emmy-nominated “Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq,” for which he is being honored at GIFF.
“James Gandolfini had a passion for telling the stories of our returning veterans so that we all might better understand their sacrifices and struggles,” said GI Film Festival President Brandon Millett. “And even though Mr. Gandolfini is no longer with us, and cannot be with us personally for this awards presentation, we felt it was important to emphasize this aspect of Mr. Gandolfini’s creative legacy. Mr. Gandolfini was a special person and this will be a special night.”
More about James Gandolfini
JAMES GANDOLFINI made his indelible mark in a variety of motion picture and television roles. In September 2014 on the big screen, Gandolfini will be seen in “The Drop” alongside Tom Hardy. Other recent film credits included: Nicole Holofcener’s romantic comedy “Enough Said” opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus; Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar®-nominated drama “Zero Dark Thirty;” Geoffrey Fletcher’s “Violet and Daisy”; David Chase’s “Not Fade Away,” which debuted at the 2012 New York Film Festival; Andrew Dominik’s crime thriller “Killing Them Softly,” with Brad Pitt; Jake Scott’s “Welcome to the Rileys”; Spike Jonze’s adventure “Where the Wild Things Are”; director Tony Scott’s “The Taking of Pelham 123”; and Armando Iannucci’s independent feature “In the Loop.”
Gandolfini’s other films credits included “Romance & Cigarettes,” in which he starred opposite Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet, directed by John Turturro with Joel and Ethan Coen producing; “Lonely Hearts,” with John Travolta and Salma Hayek; director Steven Zaillian’s “All the King’s Men,” starring opposite Sean Penn and Jude Law; Mike Mitchell’s “Surviving Christmas,” opposite Ben Affleck; the Coen brothers’ “The Man Who Wasn’t There”; “The Last Castle,” directed by Rod Lurie and starring Robert Redford; Gore Verbinski’s “The Mexican,” starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts; Joel Schumacher’s “8MM,” with Nicolas Cage and Joaquin Phoenix; Steven Zaillian’s “A Civil Action,” with John Travolta and Robert Duvall; Peter Chelsom’s “The Mighty,” with Sharon Stone; Nick Cassavetes’ “She’s So Lovely,” starring Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn; “Fallen,” directed by Gregory Hoblit, with Denzel Washington; Sidney Lumet’s “Night Falls on Manhattan,” with Andy Garcia and Lena Olin; Brian Gibson’s “The Juror,” with Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore; “Get Shorty,” with Danny DeVito and John Travolta; Tony Scott’s “Crimson Tide,” starring Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington; “Angie,” with Geena Davis; and his first Tony Scott picture, “True Romance,” starring Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette.
On the small screen, Gandolfini executive produced the Robert F Kennedy Journalism Award winning HBO Documentary Films “Wartorn” and the Emmy-nominated “Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq” in addition to the Emmy- nominated HBO Film “Hemingway and Gellhorn.” He also starred in the HBO Film “Cinema Verite” opposite Diane Lane as well the Emmy Award-winning HBO drama series “The Sopranos,” portraying the series lead, Tony Soprano. His portrayal of the mob boss brought him three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. He also won five Screen Actors Guild Awards, including three for Outstanding Male Actor in a Drama Series and two shared with “The Sopranos” cast for Outstanding Ensemble Cast.