NEWCOMER 29 PALMS MILITARY FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2016 LINE UP (Press Release)

TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA. | 25 MARCH 2016. The 29 PALMS MILITARY FILM FESTIVAL announced today the film and documentary lineup for its inaugural edition to take place from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 May, in Twentynine Palms, California.

The lineup features 24 films and documentaries consisting of studio and independent movies telling heart-thumping and larger-than-life war stories.

Commemorating military members and their guests, selected screenings will also highlight Veterans who will share their recollections of pivotal moments during the Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and tell highly personalized accounts that will be a powerful reminder of the sacrifices all our service men and women make when they are sent to the battle ground.

These 24 films will fill jumbo screens in four outdoor and indoor venues located in Twentynine Palms, a Hi-Desert resort with a time-capsule feel of early 1950’s: the SMITH RANCH'S DRIVE-IN THEATER, the SMITH'S RANCH AUDITORIUM, the TWENTYNINE PALMS JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL and the KNOTT SKY PARK.

The Festival will open Friday 13 at 5pm at the 29 Palms Inn - one of the Festival's epicenter - with a special tribute to the Fall of Saigon Marines who served at U.S. missions in South Vietnam. The Festival will also welcome Master Gunnery Sgt. Juan Jose Valdez who was the last Marine to board the last helicopter to leave the roof of the U.S. Embassy before Saigon fell. The outdoor screening of Director Rory Kennedy's Academy Award® Nominee Last Days of Vietnam (2014) about the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War will follow the reception.

The program will include some of the best war movies ever produced, from patriotic classics such as Academy Award® Winner, Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor (2001) and Academy Award® Nominee, Clint Eastwood’s masterpiece Flags of our Fathers (2006), to military epics such as Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down (2001); Academy Award® Nominee, John Woo's Windtalkers (2002 ); Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987) and Brian De Palma’s Casualties of War (1989).

The Festival will feature two stunning and original documentaries. First, Apocalypse World War I, a 2014 French/Canadian production never seen on the big screen before, which is the most comprehensive and most expensive documentary film on the Great War, consisting of a captivating assemblage of colorized archival footage that conveys the essential truths of the conflict, particularly to younger audiences. Secondly, Restrepo (2010), by Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger, winner of the 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary, which chronicles in a very unique way the deployment of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley.

The lineup is heavy on foreign films such as Wolfgang Petersen’s Das Boot (Germany, 1981), one of the most gripping and authentic war movies ever, following the lives of a fearless German submarine captain and his crew; Jimmy T. Murakami’s When the Wind Blows (U.K., 1986), a much-admired animated tale centered on a nuclear attack and featuring a soundtrack by David Bowie, Roger Waters and Genesis; two huge box office's winners in Russia in 2015, with Dmitri Meskhiev’s Battalion, a film set at the height of World War I that tells the true story of the first Russian women’s battalion, and Sergei Mokritskiy’s Battle for Sevastopol depicting one of World War II’s deadliest women snipers; the 2015 Academy Award® Nominee and Danish film, A War, by Tobias Lindholm, about a soldier facing charges at home for unlawful killings while in Afghanistan, will give to the audience a very interesting point of view about how the Danes contributed to the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan; and Richard Lester’s How I won the War (U.K., 1967) one of the early 60s antiwar films and starring John Lennon.

The Festival program also features a fantastic selection of military-themed films that fall outside any specific category but are brought to Hi-Desert residents by popular demand: Academy Award® Winner for Best Actor Sam Mendes’s Jarhead (2005); Rob Reiner’s Golden Globe Award® winner, A Few Good Men (1992); Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ Director Zack Snyder’s spectacular 300 (2007); Barry Levinson’s Good Morning Vietnam (1987) which landed two Awards to Robin Williams; Jack Webb’s ultra classic The D.I (1957); Samuel Fuller’s autobiographical masterpiece The Big Red One (1980); Roland Joffe’s Academy Award® nominated The Killing Fields (1984) about the Cambodian Civil War; quintessential Hollywood classic multi-Academy Awards® recipient Casablanca (1942) by Michael Curtiz; and Oden Roberts’ A Fighting Season (2015), a poignant story about Army recruiters to be screened in the presence of the director.

"Mixing the unique settings of this Hi-Desert community, home to one to the largest Marine bases in the U.S. and the force of cinema to honor those who have served our country is a great privilege," says Patrick Zuchowicki, a week-end resident of Twentynine Palms and the General Manager of Los Angeles-based Basic Lead, the event production company behind the 29 Palms Military Film Festival. He adds, "This inaugural film selection will convey an image of heroism and endurance and will give those who were part of these memorable fights the recognition they deserve."

With military films enjoying immense box-office power, sidebar events will include two panel discussions to feature Hollywood producers, agents and screenplay writers, will be organized in association with Z107.7 FM, the festival’s radio partner.

A morning talk will focus on compelling war stories as a source of inspiration for filmmakers (Saturday 14 from 10:00 to 11:30 at the 29 Palms Inn). An afternoon discussion will then revisit Hollywood's ambiguous relationships with the Vietnam War (Saturday 14 from 2pm to 5pm at the 29 Palms Inn). Furthermore, and to raise the visibility of unique, military-themed, film projects, five shortlisted authors will present their screenplays to a panel of industry professionals attending the festival (Saturday 14 from 5pm to 7 pm at the 29 Palms Inn). These sidebar events will only be open to VIP Festival Pass holders.

In a drive to involve the Morongo Basin community, the festival’s organizers conducted a poster design competition in partnership with the local Copper Mountain College's “Introduction to Two Dimensional Design” class (teacher Spelman Evans Downer). The organizers selected the work of 27-year old student Eric Hofmans, who served in Afghanistan for five years. The poster featuring the 2016 Festival can be seen in windows in multi locations from Morongo Basin to Twentynine Palms.

Families and their friends will find enough movies suitable for an adult night out or an afternoon with teenagers. They can pack up their lawn chairs and blankets for an outdoor experience under the stars, bring back nostalgic memories in a classic drive-in ambiance or inside a high-school gymnasium straight out of American Graffiti.

Individual and family festival passes are respectively priced until 15 April $20 ($25 thereafter) and $30 ($40 thereafter). VIP festival passes are priced $50 until 15 April ($70 thereafter) and will provide access to all sidebar events taking place on 14 May. Festival passes can be purchased in advance at the 29 Palms Chamber of Commerce / 73484 Twentynine Palms Highway, Twentynine Palms, California, Monday thru Friday (10 AM to 4 PM) and Saturday and Sunday (9 AM to 2 PM).

Tickets are also available at 29palmsfilmfestival.com/buy-tickets.

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