Editor's note: The following information is taken from a press release provided by Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.
The documentary film that follows the story of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight was picked to be the Opening Night Film at the fourth annual Naples International Film Festival in Naples, FL, on Nov. 1.
Organizers of the Naples Film Festival say they are excited to host the East coast premiere of "The Story of Stars and Stripes Honor Flight," a powerful feature-length documentary that chronicles one community’s mission to honor the rapidly diminishing numbers of World War II veterans before they are gone.
1,300 tickets will be sold for the opening night film and party at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts in Naples. Click here for more information.
The Naples Film Festival will be the first public showing of the movie since it set a Guinness World Record for the largest attendance at a film screening on Aug. 11 at Miller Park. The record-breaking world premiere of the documentary film was part of Field of Honor: A Salute to the Greatest Generation organized by Stars and Stripes Honor Flight which brought together thousands of WWII veterans at Miller Park this summer.
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The film follows a devoted team of volunteers as they race against the clock to send every WWII veteran on a completely free trip — an Honor Flight — to Washington, DC to visit the war memorials built to commemorate their service. Throughout the Honor Flight experience veterans begin to share their war stories — some for the first time ever. For many of the veterans, this is their first visit to Washington, DC and the first time they have been thanked for their sacrifice. After the trip, the veterans often say it was one of the greatest days of their lives. Honor Flight was directed by Wauwatosa native Dan Hayes and produced by Freethink Media.
Freethink Media also announced that Honor Flight has been submitted for an Academy Award in the category of Best Documentary Feature. In conjunction with that, there will be a limited nationwide theatrical release later this year.
"The ultimate goal is for this poignant and powerful story to be told to as many people as possible," said Joe Dean, SSHF Chairman who is also a Port Washington alderman. "We are especially excited and hopeful about the opportunity to one day show the film to Congress — both sides of the aisle — at the Kennedy Center or elsewhere in Washington, DC. We are also working on a distribution plan to have the film shown in schools across the nation so that subsequent generations know the stories of sacrifice of our nation's veterans."
To date, SSHF has taken 2,239 veterans from southeastern Wisconsin to see the WWII Memorial and other memorials in Washington, DC. The trips are completely free to veterans. Guardians pay $500 for the privilege of escorting a veteran on the trip. The next Stars and Stripes Honor Flight is November 3 and will feature two chartered aircraft with the capability of taking up to 220 veterans. Most WWII veterans who signed up for an Honor Flight this year should be able to fly before year's end.
Honor Flight is a national program with 117 hubs from coast to coast. The WWII Memorial did not open until 2004 and many veterans are unable to visit it without assistance. According to the VA, a WII veteran dies every 90 seconds in the US. The average age of a WWII veteran is 89 years old.
For updates on the film's upcoming theatrical release, sign up at the film's website HonorFlightStories.com