Chicagoland filmmakers take part in GI Film Festival, the largest military film festival in the U.S.

WGN News Now

○ “The Girl Who Wore Freedom” makes its West Coast Premiere in the GI Film Festival San Diego on Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 7:15 p.m. PDT.

■ “The Girl Who Wore Freedom” is an 89-minute documentary feature and was released in 2020.

■ “The Girl Who Wore Freedom” is nominated for Best Documentary Feature and Best First-Time Filmmaker in the 2021 GI Film Festival San Diego.

■ This film is also available to watch on-demand from May 20, 2021 at 12 p.m. to May 26, 2021 at 11:45 p.m.

■ “The Girl Who Wore Freedom” is Taylor’s directorial debut. She lives in Wheaton, IL.

■ Film Description: Normandy, France. Once an idyllic landscape, Normandy had succumbed to German invaders who overran its farms, its manors, its countryside. Here we meet Dany, Maurice, Henri-Jean, and others, who share their relationships with Allied forces who liberated Normandy. The journey from occupation to liberation, to acceptance and forgiveness, to gratitude and pride, is explored through interviews with French survivors and American veterans. We are reminded who America can be at her very best: when she values people over politics, seeks to right the wrongs of injustice, and sacrifices, when necessary, so others might be free.

■ About Christian Taylor: Christian Taylor’s 35-year entertainment industry career spans stage, screen, and sound booth, as she has been talent, producer, director, casting director, and coach. Christian began her career in the entertainment industry interviewing senators on Capitol Hill with the TV/Radio department of the Senate. She received her BA in Theater and Broadcasting from The Catholic University while working in radio and TV on Capitol Hill.

■ Following the live screening of “The Girl Who Wore Freedom” will be a post-screening discussion featuring Christian. Other panelists are being confirmed during this time.

○ “The Sweatshirt” makes its San Diego Premiere in the GI Film Festival San Diego on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. in the Shorts Block | Afternoon Drama film block.

■ “The Sweatshirt” is an 8-minute narrative short and was released in 2019.

■ This film is also available to watch on-demand from May 23, 2021 at 12 noon to May 26, 2021 at 11:45 p.m.

■ Saesan lives in Chicago, IL.

■ Film Description: Olivia and Sarah are hoping to make a routine stop to retrieve Sarah’s favorite sweatshirt from her ex-boyfriend’s house. But when Jeff shows no interest in complying with this reasonable request, they are forced to go head-to-head with one of Chicago’s most despicable exes. Jeff takes the sweatshirt as his hostage, leaving Olivia no choice but to negotiate the terms of the hoodie’s release.

■ About Jonah Saesan: Jonah Saesan is an award winning film director and SAG-AFTRA actor in Chicago, IL. He joined the Marine Corps (on a dare) at eighteen, but ended up staying in for 10 years, eventually earning the rank of Staff Sergeant. Afterwards, he moved home and completed The Second City Training Center Conservatory and Writing programs and also became a founding member of Stars and Gripes, a military comedy sketch ensemble. After performing in the Chicago theatre community for years, Second City hired Jonah to create the Improv for Veterans Program, which he helped launch in both Chicago and Hollywood.

■ Following the live screening of “The Sweatshirt” will be a post-screening discussion featuring Jonah. Other panelists are being confirmed during this time.

GI Film Festival San Diego — This is a virtual event.

May 18-23, 2021

General admission is $10; Military, Veterans and Students is $8

All proceeds support the festival

The box office is now open at GIFilmFestivalSD.org

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