VDC Begins Pre-production on a New Film

Accomplished filmmaker Yuri Makino joins with VDC to produce a documentary short, A Portrait of Katy Aday (working title).  This short will celebrate the extraordinary life of U.S. Navy Commander Katy Aday and will delve into Aday’s formative experiences, which have contributed to her role as a leader in the Apache community. As one of eleven girls in her family, Aday was sent from the White Mountain Apache reservation by her parents to live with a white Mormon family in California when she was 8-years-old. Her father, also a veteran, was determined that Katy learn English, become educated and able to “walk in both worlds” so that she could return to be the voice of their tribe. Before moving back home to the Arizona White Mountains, she enlisted in the military.

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Aday started her military career in the Army Reserves, becoming a 1st Lieutenant during Desert Storm, and then a Navy Commander. She served her community by fighting fires for 6 years with the all-women fire brigade Apache 8, sitting on her local board of education, and running for Tribal Council and Tribal Chair. Aday’s work has focused on the health issues of her tribe, in particular on lowering suicide rates on the Apache reservation where rates are 10 times higher than that of the general U.S. population. Aday is currently a hospice social worker.

In directing this short, Makino is interested in exploring the idea of “walking in both worlds.” Aday has had to navigate dominate culture while striving to maintain her indigenous identity. Being sent away as a child meant gaining an education, but also leaving her family and the traditions of her community on the reservation where as a child she played freely, riding horseback through her ancestral lands. “Thematically and stylistically,” Makino notes,  “I will show Aday’s two worlds and how she has worked to balance her culture of origin with her adopted culture.”

Associate Professor Yuri Makino is the Interim Co-Director of the School of Theatre, Film & Television at the University of Arizona. She is completing Rough & Tumble: Taking Play Seriously, a documentary that explores the beneficial role of play in animals and humans. Her award-winning fiction and nonfiction short films have screened at film festivals, in museums, and on commercial airplanes and public television. She is the recipient of the University of Arizona Confluence Center Innovation and Collaboration Faculty Grant, the Emerging Artist Grant from the Contemporary Forum at the Phoenix Museum, the Roy W. Dean Grant, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts Visual Fellowship. She received an M.F.A. in Film Production at New York University.

Editor of VDC’s new Film, The War to End All Wars

The War to End all Wars: And its American Veterans features newly discovered archival footage, memoirs from the fallen and expert commentary from world-renown scholars. This feature film tells the story of World War I from the American perspective: It’s Ace pilots, mine-laying sailors, heroic doughboys, Harlem Hell Fights, and courageous nurses. As the story of the trench, chemical and open warfare unfolds, we come to understand how the first global war transformed American society, leading to the Veteran’s Administration, while also solidifying the country’s parochial past despite the battlefield successes of African American troops.

This story is masterfully edited together by the talented Arash Maleki. Born in 1984, Tehran, Arash Maleki is a graduate of Iranian Youth Cinema Society in Filmmaking and Tehran Institute of Technology in Video Editing. While working as a translator and critic for Bani Film newspaper and World of Cinema magazine, he started editing short documentaries. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is his first short documentary as director and editor about the living and working conditions of Iranian young artists.

Arash moved from Tehran to San Francisco in 2015 to pursue his education as an MFA in Cinema. He has been editing documentaries for VDC for more than a year. The war to end all wars is his sixth project with VDC.

He has recently finished his last documentary, Color of Memories, about a young blind pianist. Currently, he is developing  The War to End all Wars: And its American Veterans. 

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The premiere of The War to End all Wars: And its American Veterans is set to release early 2019 and will be featured in Film Festivals across America. For more information visit our IMDB page or social media:

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Introducing The New Team

The Veteran Documentary Corps is happy to introduce you to its two newest team members Daniel Jamieson and Jesse Sutterley.

 

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Jesse Sutterley, Associate Director of the VDC, graduated from San Francisco State with a bachelors degree in History minoring in Journalism. He has always been passionate about history and what it means to understand our past as well as one another. He is formally the Editor-in-Chief from Diablo Valley College’s newspaper, the Inquirer, and has ran his own small production company for four years. Jesse has worked with film and editing since middle school and has been known to spend his late night hours in the editing room. He has just returned from a two month journey across the United States by Amtrak, making stops in American Legion Posts dotting all over the country. His personal work can be found at missilehouseproductions.com

Jesse can be contacted at jsutterl@sfsu.edu

 

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Daniel Jamieson is a professional filmmaker based in the Sacramento area.  His production work focuses on cinematic shooting. His post-production work focuses on core edits and motion graphics.  He’ll be doing all of this for VDC, as well as managing social media operations. He was first introduced to El Dorado Films for his work on promotional content for Veteran Documentary Corps. To see more of his work, check out: https://www.filmpros.net/

Daniel can be contacted at FilmProsCo@gmail.net

Farewell Carolina!

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“We will all miss Carolina.  Her work stretched across all that VDC does, from film production to paying people, and she did everything with great professionalism.”
This week one of our key team members, co-director Carolina Gratianne, is leaving us.
For the last two and a half years Carolina has occupied a vital role within our team, making sure to keep the ship afloat by working behind the scenes, as well as participating in the production, direction and organisation of several of our recent features.
Carolina has made a valuable contribution to fourteen VDC films such as The American WarAdmiral Chester Nimitz and Madame Mars.  She also directed two short films, Vietnam Pilots and Samuel Wilder King.
Most importantly, she has provided invaluable consistency and has been the go-to person for all things VDC.
Carolina has brought a quick wit, can-do attitude and endless patience to our VDC family and we can’t thank her enough for everything she has done for us.
What’s next? Carolina is not only saying goodbye to us but also to San Francisco and heading to SoCal to pursue further dreams in the film industry and continue to cultivate her talent in a variety of creative areas.
Gracias por todo Carolina, you will be missed.

Premiere of Guy Hircefeld: A Guy with a Camera

By Molly Stuart

This weekend I had the pleasure of representing Guy Hircefeld: A Guy with a Camera at Impugning Impunity: Human Right’s Documentary Film Festival. In the heart of Manhattan, the festival setting stood in stark contrast to the mountainous Palestinian desert I tread with director Andrés Gallegos to make this film. Distant though these locations are, the film’s timely themes had no problem translating across cultures and continents.

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The personal sacrifice and political transformation of Guy Hircefeld (lead subject) resonate with people around the world seeking justice in these tumultuous times. And his ever-present use of the camera as a weapon (in the face of more lethal weapons) reveals a unique example of the power of popular documentation.

Audience members remarked on the simultaneous beauty and unsettling nature of the images. They asked about the impact of Guy’s filming of Israeli settler violence and the expansion of illegal settlements.  I reported that since the completion of the film, the settlers whose violent acts were documented in the film have been removed from their outpost on Palestinian herding land. However, last month another illegal outpost was built by the same group of extremist Israeli settlers, demonstrating the continued importance of the tireless efforts of Guy and his organization, Ta’ayush.

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It was encouraging to hear such resounding enthusiasm from our New York audience. Their insistence that this film must be seen broadly will fuel our efforts to grow international understanding of this intractable conflict and the personal stories within it.

 

VDC Filmmaker, Andrés Gallegos, Earns Spot in Prestigious Film Festival

By Director Daniel Bernardi

Andrés Gallegos, a VDC filmmaker and a recent graduate of the School of Cinema MFA program, has been nominated by the American Society of Cinematographers for his graduation film, Shoe Shiner.  Andrés is one of five students nominated in the graduate category of their annual awards along with filmmakers from AFI, USC and Chapman.

For Andrés, Shoe Shiner is very personal. It was born from one of his most precious memories from listening to his grandfather. “The script is based on my grandfather’s childhood and it portrays one of his adventures as a shoe shiner in Talca, my hometown,” Andrés told us. “This story has always resonated with me and during the evolution of my creative process as a filmmaker, I have been able to identify its narrative qualities and cinematic potential,” he said. “Wanting to bring it to a film form was a very natural decision for me.”

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The fact that the script is based on a real story is a reflection of Andrés commitment to certain narratives that he feels close to, that he can observe in his home country in a daily basis. In Chile, the greatest manifestation of segregation is rooted in class division. Chileans live in such a dynamic that everything is articulated so that the less privileged classes have a lack of access to basic rights like quality education, working opportunities and health, directly affecting their human condition.

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It is the sensitivity to the personal stories of peoples that preserver through great challenges that drives a number of Andrés’s VDC films.  During the year 2017, he directed three short documentary films for VDC under the framework of the VA Legacy program. He carried out detailed development work together with the history department at San Francisco State University (SFSU).  He also worked with teams of undergrad students from the School of Cinema at SFSU. “Personally,” he told us, “it was a very enriching experience, from addressing very sensitive stories to my performance in leading a documentary team.”

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To see one of the films he made, Private first class Benjamin Tollefson, See:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVEIJbSsqus

This short tells the story of a Gold Star mother who honors her son and his family. “Benjamin found meaning in the Army, and his wife and son carry his strength forward.”

In this 2018 Andrés participated as a cinematographer in the realization of several VDC film projects now in post-production, traveling to France, Belgium, Hawaii, New York and Pennsylvanian to shoot material for five shorts and one feature on WWI.  VDC then sent him to Israel film a feature-length documentary, Objector, directed by Molly Stuart. This film tells the story of Atalya Ben-Abba, a young Israelite who refused military service and chose prison to oppose Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

Unstoppable, during his stay in Isreal Andrés directed a short documentary, “Guy Hircefeld: A Guy with a Camera” for VDC.  This short tells the story of a veteran that served in the Israeli military who now fights against occupation. This film is currently on its film festivals circuit.

Check out a trailer here:  https://vimeo.com/288612014

VDC will continue to work with amazing filmmakers like Andrés.  He has made us a world-class production unit focused on telling the veteran story.