Ninth Veterans Film Festival goes virtual

Free program designed to enlighten military members and civilians

Virtual this year, the ninth annual Veterans Film Festival presented by OneVet OneVoice and the San Francisco Public Library runs Nov. 8-14.

Kicking off at 9 a.m. Nov. 8, the festival streams 19 films, including documentaries and features that focus on veterans’ experiences both inside and outside the service.

“The film festival is a platform to bridge that gap between the civilian population and the veteran community,” said retired Master Sgt. of the Air Force Eddie Ramirez, who founded the nonprofit OneVet OneVoice, a service organization for veterans, while working as program cooordinator at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“During COVID, our community has felt particularly vulnerable to mental health struggles and economic hardships, added Ramirez, who said festival allows people to come together for a shared experience as well as highlights issues such as PTSD, suicide, and challenges of transitioning to civilian life.

Each film screens daily, free for the public as well as veterans. The program also includes a panel with directors hosted by the library at 6 p.m. Nov. 12.

Ramirez, who established OneVet OneVoice after a 22-year military career, said he programs films that will have an impact on veterans and also educate civilians.

This year’s lineup includes “Silkies,” directed by Jaremey McMullin, about the Irreverent Warriors, whose “Silkies Hikes,” in which participants wear only their military-issue “silkies” boxer briefs, are designed to raise awareness about, and help prevent, veteran suicide. In “Ocean Station November,” filmmaker Damon Stuebner tells the story of the 1956 Coast Guard rescue of passengers on Pan-Am 943, an airliner that ditched in the mid-Pacific after multiple engine failures.

While Ramirez invites everyone to check out the program, he cautions that because some films may have triggering moments that could upset veterans, a crisis line will be available.

To access the movies, which run between 9 a.m. Nov. 8 and 9 p.m. Nov. 14, visit sfveteransfilmfestival.org; to join the panel, register at bit.ly/VetFilmFest20.

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