GI Film Festival San Diego kicks off with George Takei

SAN DIEGO -- The GI Film Festival San Diego showcases films that tell stories of American heroes.

Tuesday's opening night featured two films that highlight Japanese-American soldiers during World War II.

FOX 5 spoke to legendary actor and activist George Takei who stars in "American." The narrative film tells the story of a 94-year-old veteran working at a Japanese American National Museum. He encounters a family who manage to trigger events he remembered as a young man in a Japanese American Internment Camp, and who also served in the 442 in WWII.

"My life mission is to raise awareness of this dark chapter of American history," said Takei.

The actor was held in an American internment camp as a young boy during World War II.

Although short, the 18-minute film and its message resonated with people who watched.

"I think it reminds us of everyone who’s an American today and that's important. And just what service is about and - it’s just a beautiful story," said Takei's  co-star Tina Losasso.

Opening night also featured the documentary "The Registry." The documentary profiles WWII Japanese-American veterans who served in the U.S. Military Intelligence Service. The film aims to tell stories that have been lost throughout history. The profiled veterans, now well into their 90s, document their untold stories, as they speak to their children.

The festival takes place September 25-30 across San Diego. The venues include Doubletree by Hilton Hotel San Diego that will host the Awards Celebration taking place on Saturday. Festival events will also happen at the Museum of Photographic Arts, UltraStar Cinemas at Hazard Center and USS Midway Museum.

Films are shown according to their theme's. The GI Film Festival will showcase a variety of documentaries, short films, and more including:

Wednesday, September 26

  • Film Block: WWII and Korean War Perspectives, 4:30 p.m.
    "Never Forget"
    "Unforgotten"
  • Thud Pilots with the Flashback, 7:15 p.m.
    "The Flashback"

Thursday, September 27

  • Film Block: Honoring WWI, 4:30 p.m. 
    "The Hello Girls: The Story of America's First Female Soldiers"
    "Black Jack Pershing: Love and War"
  • "I Am That Man", 7:30 p.m.

Friday, September 28

  • Film Block: Stories from the Seas, 4:00 p.m. 
    "The Last Signal"
    "Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas"
  • Film Block: From Baghdad to the Bay. 6:00 p.m.
    "From Baghdad to the Bay"
    "Coming Out to Grandma"
  • Selected Shorts and Local Films, 8:15 p.m. 

Saturday, September 29

  • Film Block: Life after Service, 1:00 p.m. 
    "We Are Not Done Yet"
    "The Weight of Honor"
  • Awards Celebration, 7 p.m. 

Sunday, September 30

  • Film Block: Fight for Equality, 12:00 p.m. 
    "Code of Honor: One Soldier's Stand for Equality"
    "Brooklyn in July"
    "Major Capers: The Legend of Team Broadminded"