This Week’s Snag Film: The Yunnan Great Rivers Expedition

If you like the great outdoors, then you’ll love The Yunnan Great Rivers Expedition – a whitewater expedition through the upper Mekong, Salween and Yangtze rivers.  And this documentary has earned a five-star rating from Snag Films viewers!

In a remote corner of Southwest China, three of Asia’s greatest rivers plunge off the Tibetan Plateau through steep canyons in the Himalayas thousands of feet deep.  This stunningly beautiful film captures the incredible journey of a whitewater expedition, as it explores the upper Mekong, Salween and Yangtze rivers.  More than a wild adventure, the two-month expedition was an ambitious partnership with the Nature Conservancy and the Chinese government to help protect one of the most biodiverse and culturally diverse regions in the world.

From the Mekong River’s hidden Moon Gorge in the Himalayas to the towering canyon walls of the Yangtze River’s Great Bend, an odyssey of exploration and adventure and environmental activism.

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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This Week’s Snag Film: Splitting Hairs

We hope you take half an hour this week to enjoy the latest offering from Snag Films’ USO Theater!  Splitting Hairs is a documentary about the American invasion of the World Beard and Moustache Championships.Here’s the – ahem – trimmed-down synopsis: Facial hair championships began 30 years ago in the black Forest of Germany.  Over time, the championships drew competitors from across Europe, but it was not until the early 1990’s that American pioneers Bruce Roe and Phil Olsen discovered the event.

One year before the World Beard and Moustache Championships in Berlin, we meet Phil and Bruce at home, and learn of their ongoing rivalry. We also meet outspoken World Muskateer Champion Gary Johnson, who professes no loyalties to anyone except two biker friends who accompany him to Berlin.

The competition begins, and we discover the varied fates of our characters as they compete against the best beards and moustaches in the world.  Immediately after the competition, we join the Election for the President the World Beard and Moustache Association. The current president steps down, Bruce and Phil are both nominated for the position. This is the showdown they’ve been waiting for. Speeches are given, a vote follows, and the new President of the World Beard and Moustache movement is unveiled.

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This Week’s Snag Film: Ballou

It’s time to grab the popcorn and gather the family around the computer, because we have your new offering for the USO Theater from Snag Films!

This week’s documentary is Ballou; here’s the synopsis from Snag Films:

The marching band at Ballou Senior High School in D.C.

“Members of the Ballou Senior High School Marching Band rise above their violence-filled Washington, D.C., neighborhood in this documentary, which follows the group as they try to achieve their dream of winning the national marching band competition. Inspired by their tireless director, Darrell Watson, and helped by a dedicated team of volunteers, the musical teens put their heads, hearts and souls into making the band the best it can be.”