Pentagon Channel Introduces Movie Night to Programming

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"This is different than anything you've ever seen on the Pentagon Channel before," Howe said. "We have had individual documentary feature films, historical docudramas combining old footage with recreations, but we've never had narrative drama with scripts and actors with a blend of drama and news."

The Pentagon Channel traditionally airs news, news conferences, congressional hearings and a variety of shows, including military sporting events, for service members, family members and veterans, and is viewed in 30 million homes across the nation, Howe said. The channel also is available on every military installation around the world, he added, and is online at

The GI Film Festival is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to sharing the military experience in and out of the arena of war. According to its website, it's the first film festival in the nation to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of service members through the film medium.

The movie night will comprise "the whole gamut of different kinds of [military] films," Howe said, adding that they're obtained from a collection of films screened in past years at the annual GI Film Festival. This year's festival began May 14 in the nation's capital and continues through May 20.

The independent features, documentaries and film shorts are not Defense Department produced, but rather originate from individuals who produced and directed their own films, Howe explained. Service members, veterans and people who were embedded in a war zone to capture a story created the films, he said.

The films' content is drawn from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, and also includes re-enactments from the Civil War, he said. Several of the productions deal with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, two of the signature wounds of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Howe added.

"These emotional issues, in a generalized way, are a widespread thing," Howe said. "Real firefights, improvised explosive device [explosions] and recreations of real instances run the gamut of the films."

Howe said he came up with the idea to obtain the rights to previously screened films and run them on the Pentagon Channel when the 2010 GI Film Festival was here.

"We're always looking for somebody's experience in the military, after the military, and viewpoints on the military that might be new and interesting. ... All films exalt military service in an independent manner. They're not sugar-coated," he said.

The Pentagon Channel will begin with about 22 hours of movie programming, with more films to follow from the GI Film Festival, Howe said.

"The GI Film Festival on the Pentagon Channel" will air at the following times, Eastern Daylight Time:

-- Mondays, 10 a.m.;

-- Tuesdays, 4 a.m.;

-- Wednesdays, 10 p.m.;

-- Thursdays, 1 p.m.;

-- Fridays, 8 p.m.;

-- Saturdays, 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.; and

-- Sundays, midnight and 11 a.m.

Related Sites:

The Pentagon Channel [ ]

GI Film Festival [ ]