Proposed Annual Canadian Military Film Festival 


Virtual Film Festival Test Page


  1. The aim of this brief is to propose to the development and maintenance by the Order of St George of an Annual Canadian Military Film Festival similar to the GI Film Festival, held in Washington DC every year since 2007, and the International Military Film Festival held annually in Poland since 2009. BACKGROUND
  2. Both the GI Film Festival and the International Film Festival have become well attended week-long events in The United States and Europe. Both screen a great many films specific to the themes of the military and the struggle for international peace. Their events have a range of categories, heavy sponsorship, awards, and a well-attended gala for awards following days of film screenings. A similar event in Canada could attract film makers already showing at these events as film-makers are always looking for new venues to show their work. Anecdotally, there were four Canadian films presented this past September at the International Film Festival in Poland.
  3. The Afghan Film Festival that toured Canada in 2013, had ten films in the collection being offered for viewing at Military Reserve Units, Bases and Legions across Canada. A frequent response by Canadians viewing the films was “I had no idea” confirming the notion that Canadians know very little about their military. This collection, furthermore, only scratched the surface of the Canadian Military stories that could be captured in film. We have a growing and talented film industry in Canada and many opportunities for our film-makers to capture the rich but almost unknown military history, past and living, of Canada. Unfortunately, Canadian media are strong adherents to the philosophy of “if it bleeds it leads” and have little interest in Canadian military history even when it is unfolding right in front of them.
  4. Historically, the Canadian public has had limited awareness of or interest in the Canadian military unless or until there is a domestic or international crisis that calls for the involvement of our soldiers, sailors and air men and women. This has resulted in a corresponding ebb and flow of public and government support for the military that has made it difficult, between crisis and conflicts, to maintain a credible, flexible, combat capable, rapid response, deployable military in accordance with Department of National Defence policy and mission statements. A credible and capable military is also essential to Canada’s relevance as a nation in a twenty-first century global community that is repeatedly challenged with acts of terrorism and piracy that fall outside the traditional and outdated rules of state versus state conflict.
  5. The CF was at the most robust and capable it has been for decades at the conclusion of the Combat Mission in Afghanistan. Even before soldiers began withdrawing from Kandahar, however, media and public interest turned away. The Canadian Afghan Mission was particularly defining for Canada’s military and showed our troops to be more than competent combatants, well trained and well prepared to punch above their weight in the twenty-first century battle-space. Canadians do not, as a rule, know this.
  6. There is a network of military museums across Canada that could make excellent venues for the annual presentation of films gathered for Canadian Military Film Festival. The Organization of Military Museums of Canada (OMMC) would be an ideal collaborator on the development of this proposed project. It is an association of people and organizations with an abiding interest in the military history of Canada, the preservation, display and interpretation of military artifacts and memorabilia, and the effective operation of military museums. ​The OMCC is connected with many military or war museums across Canada, each with the shared objective, best summed up by the Canadian War Museum, of presenting “Canada’s military past and how it shaped the country” and “explain Canada’s rich military history from earliest times to the present, featuring the experiences of people on the battlefields and at home”. The cultivation of the production of Canadian films for annual presentation in a Canadian Military Film Festival supports this objective. Otherwise our military will continue to fade from view and drift to the background of the Canadian community landscape between conflicts, to resurface every November 11 or when a domestic crisis or international conflict emerges to remind them we have a military.
  7. About the OMMC:Mission. The mission of the OMMC is to preserve the military heritage of Canada by encouraging the establishment and operation of military museums, to educate museum staff through lectures, discussions, workshops, visits, small education grants, publications and exhibits, and to cooperate with other public and private bodies devoted to the same or similar purposes.”Vision. The OMMC vision is to foster and be part of a national co-operation in a common agenda to preserve and interpret the military history of Canada, set in the wider context of Canadian and international society and human affairs.
  8. The Department of National Defence maintains a Public Affairs Branch that includes in its mandate a commitment to tell the story of the Canadian Armed Forces. As such they are well positioned to assist and support the Canadian War Museum in the development of an annual military film festival.Defence Administrative Order 2008 – 0 states that:the role of Public Affairs (PA) is to promote understanding and awareness among Canadians of the role, mandate and activities of the CF and DND, and of the contributions that the CF and DND make to Canadian society and the international community.Canadians expect and deserve to know what the men and women of the CF and DND do on their behalf. Public support for the CF and DND follows from public understanding of how the CF and DND make a difference at home and abroad. Public confidence, in turn, is enhanced by the ability of the CF and DND to achieve its mandate in a manner that is open, transparent, and consistent with Canadian values and expectations.”`
  9. The establishment of an annual Canadian Military Film Festival would do more than raise consistent public awareness of and support for the Canadian Armed Forces. It would also provide Canadian Militay Museums with a popular, media friendly and profitable annual event that could easily take its place as a must-attend for the diplomatic, military and media population. DISCUSSION
  10. The proposed Canadian Annual Military Film Festival would share with Canadians the rich human history of its military and better inform the often-contentious debate that is associated with Canadian military participation in conflicts and emergencies at home and abroad.
  11. The proposed Canadian Annual Military Film Festival would stimulate interest on the part of Canadian filmmakers in researching and portraying Canadian military history in documentary and fictionalized storytelling in order to develop worthwhile productions representative of this history.
  12. The proposed Canadian Annual Military Film Festival would stimulate interest on the part of potential sponsors and funding agencies of Canadian films and related events as it would add to the growing reputation of Canada as a producer of quality film making.
  13. The proposed Canadian Annual Military Film Festival could take its’ place as a premiere event, centered in Ottawa at the Canadian War Museum alongside the growing number of successful film festivals in Canada, such as the Toronto International Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival. The related media exposure would also showcase all the Canadian Military Museums have to offer the rest of the year. PROPOSED FORMAT
  14. The proposed military film festival would have a central location at the Canadian War Museum but would be available for concurrent live streaming at participating military museums, military bases and reserve units across Canada.
  15. Films would be premiered through live streaming in a week leading up to a final Gala and Awards night. The main event would be held at the Canadian War Museum, but participating venues could hold concurrent local celebratory events.
  16. Participating venues would pay a fee to the organizers as would individuals wishing to live on-line stream from their homes through the affordable purchase of an annual account and password protected login. Venues would charge fees for attendance throughout the week. Gala attendance at the end of the week would be for an additional fee. The resulting revenue stream would be shared by partners such as the Order of St George, the OMMC and the National Film Board. The cumulative generation of funds could go towards the further development of Canadian military films through the establishment of grants and sponsorships.
  17. The net of the funds generated by venue participators, beyond the recovery of the fees paid up front to the organizing partners, for virtual participation in an Annual Canadian Military Film Festival would provide welcome revenue to those venues.
  18. Attendees at the venue live streaming and individuals live streaming from home would be invited to vote on the films online throughout the week. Voting would close prior to the gala. Awards based on voting would be presented at the gala. RECOMMENDATION
  19. The Order of St George should consider spearheading the development and maintenance of an Annual Canadian Military Film Festival.
  20. The Unsung Heroes Gala, successfully commenced by Cascadia Priory in February 2020 is to be an annual celebration of the untold stories of the uniformed men and women who serve or have served Canada. As such it is a good starting point to involve community partners and members of the Canadian film industry in a lead up to the development of an Annual Canadian Military Film Festival.
  21. Discussion should be initiated with the OMMC, the Public Affairs Branch of the Department of National Defence, the National Film Board, and leading Canadian Broadcasters such as the Canadian Broadcasting Company on the potential for such an annual event.
  22.  Task specific volunteers should be recruited from Cascadia Priory to begin researching and building a team to develop and launch an ANNUAL CANADIAN MILITARY FILM FESTIVAL.

Prepared 17 March 2020 for the Order of St George

By: Dame Commander Melanie Graham Lt (N) Retired

Additional Background:

GI Film Festival


Creating Community

GIFF transcends the world of film festivals by creating a true community where passionate filmmakers, our veterans and those who support them can gather for a few magical days to educate, heal and preserve the legacies of our veterans.

Every city in America should experience what you have built. Gary Mortensen, Director, Shepherds of Helmand The GI Film Festival (GIFF), a 501c3 non-profit organization founded in 2006 by Army veteran Laura Law-Millett and her husband Brandon Millett, is dedicated to preserving the stories of American veterans past and present through film, television and live special events.

Additional Events

GIFF’s flagship festival, held each May in Washington, DC is now entering its 11th season. GIFF also hosts an annual west coast festival each October in San Diego in partnership with KPBS.

GIFF has also produced a live event military base tour, a National Cinematic Salute to the Troops showcased in 400 theater across the country and Best of GIFF television series on The American Heroes Channel and The Pentagon Channel.

The GI Film Festival is currently undergoing a major evolution with its planned expansion to cities across the United States in partnership with KPBS in San Diego.

As the festival goes through the necessary logistics and planning to make this expansion happen, the festival will not host an event in Washington, DC in May 2019.

The GI Film Festival San Diego event, however, will take place as planned, September 24-29, 2019.

The GI Film Festival film competition will be held during the San Diego event. See here for more details regarding GIFF’s expansion plans and for updates regarding film submission deadlines.

The GIFF team will miss all of our friends in Washington, DC. But we will look to see you in San Diego in September and then back in DC in the near future.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The GI Film Festival was founded in 2006 by husband and wife team Brandon L. Millett and Major Laura Law in response to the lack of quality films portraying American service members. It is the first film festival of its kind and is held each May during Armed Forces Month in Washington, D.C.

The mission of the GI Film Festival is “to honor the successes and sacrifices of the American men and women in uniform and the world wide struggle for freedom and democracy, to preserve the stories of the American Veterans, and to train and educate veterans about the entertainment industry.” The GI Film Festival is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

The week-long event brings together luminaries from Hollywood, Congress and the Military. The Festival’s program line-up offers moviegoers a wide variety of independent films including documentaries, narrative features, and shorts, as well as a program of panel discussions

MISSION & OBJECTIVE (from their web site)

The mission of the GI Film Festival is to preserve the stories of the American GI and honor their service and sacrifices through the medium of film and TV.

The GI Film Festival also seeks to promote the work of active duty military and military veteran filmmakers.

The GI Film Festival also honors the worldwide struggle for freedom and democracy.

The award-winning G.I. Film Festival is the first and only film festival in the country dedicated to preserving the stories of the American GI and honoring their successes and sacrifices through the medium of film and television. The festival’s documentary and narrative films showcase themes ranging from the courage and ingenuity on battlefields throughout history to the struggles of homelessness and post-traumatic stress on the home front.

With respect to previous events, the programs are truly first-rate, featuring classic and premier film screenings, musical performances, panel discussions, receptions.

International Historical and Military Film Festival 2019

21/10/2019 – 25/10/2019

The International Historical and Military Films Festival in Warsaw is an event that focuses on two film subjects. The first one popularizes the history of nations and countries, their culture, as well as outstanding historical figures. The second covers the widely understood military subjects. There are many instances in which these two areas intertwine, especially within films concerning armed conflicts, events connected to terrorism, and the evolution of military technology. This fact served as the basis for an idea to popularize the two subjects through one film festival.