Legion honors GI Film Festival with award

The nation's only festival dedicated to honoring military films will be the recipient of The American Legion National Commander's Public Relations Award during a luncheon at the Renaissance Hotel on Wednesday.

In a letter to GI Film Festival President Brandon Millett, National Commander Clarence E. Hill wrote, "The GI Film Festival was selected to receive this honor because of its support of one of The American Legion's corporate goals: promoting the honorable nature of military service. Since 2007, the annual festival has honored works that exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the American military through the medium of film. As the GI Film Festival Web site states, you present films 'that honor the heroic stories of the American Armed Forces and the worldwide struggle for freedom and liberty.'"

"Our mission from the beginning has been to honor the service and sacrifice of the American veteran," said GI Film Festival co-founder Laura Millett, in a statement from the GIFF. "What a special honor to be recognized by The American Legion, one of the nation's most respected veteran service organizations. We're very proud of the growing reputation of our film festival and we look forward to building on this success in 2010 and beyond."

The fourth annual GI Film Festival will be held May 12-16 in Washington and will feature a number of first-time film screenings and celebrity panels.

Past recipients of the award include the late Meet the Press host Tim Russert, entertainer Ben Stein, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw and former Secretary of Education William Bennett.

With a current membership of 2.5 million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.