So Very Far From Home – Watch the Documentary Film for Free

So Very Far From Home tells the stories upon which Steven Spielberg’s epic film Empire of the Sun was based, as told by the people who lived it.

So Very Far From Home tells the stories of American, British and Australian children sent to brutal, overcrowded prison camps in Japanese-occupied China during World War II.  While the war eventually ended, China still lives in their hearts today.

For Patricia Dunn Silver, it’s the memory of July 4, 1943 when a group of imprisoned parents and children defiantly sang the one song their Japanese captors had forbidden—The Star-Spangled Banner.  Shanghai was once seven year-old Ronald Morris’ playground, but during the war years hunger was his constant companion. For Pamela Masters, a brash British teenager, months of imprisonment brought her within seconds of taking her own life. The war meant it would be years before Mary Taylor Previte would see her parents again.

What happens when the only world you ever knew is gone, and “home” is a place you’ve never seen?

As always, watching this documentary is FREE courtesy of Snag Films.   This video can be viewed worldwide and we hope you’ll share it…

This Week’s Snag Film – Arlington: Field of Honor

Tour one of America's most sacred places and explore its hallowed history in this powerful portrait

Snag Films and National Geographic presents a portrait of one of America’s most sacred places. Once little more than a potter’s field, Arlington National Cemetery has become a national shrine and treasury of American history. Now, discover how this revered site came to be, and how it serves as the final resting place for both the famous and obscure, from John F. Kennedy to the Unknown Soldier. Through rare archival footage and captivating, true-life accounts, experience the moving stories of heroes and heroines and witness the daily activities and official rituals of the dedicated staff who strive to honor those who are laid to rest here. From fallen soldiers and daring explorers to political leaders and other honored Americans, the hallowed history of Arlington reveals a powerful portrait of this iconic and venerated landmark.

(Note: this documentary is available for viewing only in the US)

This Week’s Snag Film: National Geographic’s Shark Encounters

The ultra-rare, deepwater "Megamouth" shark was captured on film for the first time ever in National Geographic's Shark Encounters. This, however, is a whale shark.

Plunge into the ocean with renowned filmmaker and shark expert Michael deGruy as he takes you to the underwater realm of sharks for this week’s USO Theater offering from Snag Films.  Remember: Snag Films are always free and you can share them with friends and family  - no matter where they are around the world!  We’re continuing to bring you the best in documentary film making and if YOU have films you’d like to see, let us know in the comments section.

In the meantime, we hope you’ll plunge into the ocean depths with renowned filmmaker and shark expert Michael deGruy as he takes you to the underwater realm of sharks! You’ll swim terrifyingly close to see these efficient predators in action, and watch in fear as deGruy re-enacts a shark attack that cost him part of an arm fourteen years earlier. You’ll also discover the incredible physical and behavioral diversity of the shark family, from the 7-inch dwarf dog shark to the over 50-foot whale shark. Through spectacular animation, enter a shark’s body to learn how it hones in on its prey using its unique sense of electro-reception. And join in the discovery of a gigantic deepwater species known as “Megamouth,” with the first ever close-up footage.


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Announcing This Year’s GI Film Festival!

USO CEO & President Sloan Gibson greets actor Faizon Love at the ON PATROL launch party screening of Taking Chance at 2009's GI Film Festival.

The GI Film Festival (GIFF) is back in DC for this fourth annual event designed specifically to “celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the American military through the medium of film.”

Last year saw the premiere of Taking Chance, a film starring Kevin Bacon that is inspired by the true events surrounding one Marine’s death and the military escort officer who returns him home.  That screening kicked off the official launch of ON PATROL – The Magazine of the USO.  The film Valkyrie also received a special screening just for wounded warriors courtesy of USO of Metropolitan Washington.

This year’s festival includes an equally fantastic lineup, including USO favorite Gary Sinise’s “Lt. Dan Band: For the Common Good,” which chronicles his band’s journey around the globe in support of our Troops.  The documentary screens on Thursday, May 15th and is part of an entire evening dedicated to honoring wounded warriors.  Tickets are still available.

The entire festival runs from Tuesday, May 11 through Sunday, May 16 and includes feature films, documentaries, shorts’ series, and discussion panels from actors, directors, and producers.  There’s even a bootcamp for aspiring filmmakers.

Can’t make it to DC for the festivities?  Be sure to check out the website for film trailers, the GIFF blog, and much more!  And be sure to enjoy the official GIFF trailer below…

This Week’s Snag Film: Darkon

Grab the popcorn and get ready to suspend reality – at least temporarily – for the latest offering from Snag Films’ USO Theater!

DARKON is a feature documentary that follows the real-life adventures of an unusual group of weekend “warrior knights,” fantasy role-playing gamers whose live action “battleground” is modern-day Baltimore, Maryland, re-imagined as a make-believe medieval world named Darkon. These live action gamers combine the physical drama of historical re-enactments with character-driven storylines inspired in part by such perennial favorite fantasy epics like the legends of King Arthur, Lord of the Rings, and the saga of Conan the Barbarian. As role players, they create alter-egos with rich emotional, psychological, and social lives. They costume themselves and physically act out their characters exploits both in intimate court intrigue and campouts and in panoramic battle scenarios involving competitive strategies, convincingly real props, and full contact “combat.” Because real life so often gets in the way, its easy to understand these players’ motivations. Everybody wants to be a hero.

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This Week’s Snag Film: Farther Than the Eye Can See

We hope you take an hour this week to enjoy the latest offering from Snag Films’ USO Theater!  Farther Than the Eye Can See is one of the top adventure films of all time — blind climber Eric Weihenmayer’s renowned summit of Mt. Everest

An intimate look inside one of the most successful Mount Everest expeditions ever. This award-winning film beautifully captures the emotion, humor and drama of blind climber Erik Weihenmayer’s historic ascent as well as four other remarkable ‘firsts’ on Mount Everest.

“Though there were questions about the wisdom of the attempt before the team even left home, the clear and definitive success of the expedition proves what people working together, with a common vision, can accomplish. By rallying behind Erik, nineteen of twenty-one team members stood on the top. The oldest climber ever reached the summit along with his son, an American first. And finally, with the help of Sherpas, we were able to bring an HD camera along to capture historic moments with Erik and his team on the summit.” – Michael Brown, Director

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