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Filmmakers and actors from around the U.S. take home coveted awards at GI Film Festival San Diego

SAN DIEGO – Organizers of this year's GI Film Festival San Diego announced the multi-day event's award-winning films, filmmakers, and actors at the culminating Awards Celebration held Saturday, May 21 at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

Professional and student filmmakers won in 13 award categories at this year's Awards Celebration, which honored filmmaking excellence produced by national and local filmmakers. Honorees were carefully selected from the five-day festival lineup of 26 films, with 10 films and two actors taking home awards.

The event was hosted by Thom Tran, a Los Angeles-based stand-up comedian, musician, radio broadcaster, and U.S. military veteran and advocate.

"We were thrilled that this year's event could be in person, together, to celebrate our filmmakers – there was definitely a strong sense of homecoming," says Tran. "The GI Film Festival San Diego is a family of military service members, veterans, allies and filmmakers, and we look forward to seeing it grow for many years to come."

The 2022 GI Film Festival San Diego Award Winners are:

Best Documentary Short

"Veterans Journey Home: On Black Mountain"

Directed by Frederick Marx

Best Narrative Short

"American Hero"

Directed by Manny McCord

Best Local Narrative Short

"My Happy Place"

Directed by Devin Scott

Best Student Film


Directed by Aja Weary and Amanda Richardson

Best Actor

Evan Hall

"Shell Shocked"

Directed by Paula Cajiao

Best Actress

Jomarla Melancon

"Blood and Glory"

Directed by Satinder Kaur

Best Narrative Directed by Military or Veterans


Directed by Samuel Gonzalez Jr.

Best Narrative Starring Military or Veterans

"Landing Home"

Directed by Douglas Taurel

Best Documentary Made by Military or Veterans

"Walk With Frank"

Frank Romeo

Mayers Films

Best Documentary Feature

"Dear Sirs"

Directed by Mark Pedri

Local Choice Award

"We All Die Alone"

Directed by Jonathan Hammond

Founders' Choice Award


Directed by Jack Youngelson

Best First-Time Director

Ryan Mayers and Matt Mayers

"Walk With Frank"

The GI Film Festival San Diego will return May 2023. To stay updated on next year's screening dates, visit and follow the festival on social media.

About GI Film Festival San Diego

The GI Film Festival San Diego is a multi-day showcase of films for, by, and about military and veteran experiences. Films featured in the festival reveal the struggles, triumphs, and experiences of service members and veterans. The festival also provides veterans and service members with an opportunity to further their creative skills.

Documentaries, shorts, narratives, and feature-length films are presented. The festival includes locally-connected films, which feature San Diego's filmmakers, events, people, or places. Post-screening discussions with filmmakers, film subjects, actors, and subject-matter experts are also part of the festival.

The festival, established in 2015, is organized by KPBS in partnership with the Film Consortium San Diego.


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