Friday, April 29, 2011

Fifth Annual GI Film Festival to Feature Reel Stories! Real Heroes!

Actors Gary Sinise and William Devane to Appear...

The GI Film Festival, now in its fifth year, is the first and only film festival in the nation dedicated to the American Armed Forces.  Co-founded by Brandon Millett and Laura Law-Millett, the festival’s mission is to honor the successes and sacrifices of American GIs through the medium of film. The festival will be held May 9-15 in Washington, D.C. and will feature 31 film premieres celebrating our country’s servicemen and women.

Emmy award winning actor William Devane (known for "Knot’s Landing," "West Wing” and “Missiles of October”) stars in “Flag of My Father” and will attend the screening taking place on Friday, May 13th at the Navy Memorial Theater.  “Flag of My Father” is directed by Rodney Ray, who has two films showing in this year’s festival.  Emmy and Golden Globe winner and Oscar Nominee Gary Sinise (Lt. Dan Taylor in “Forrest Gump”) will serve as the keynote speaker at a Congressional reception on Wednesday, May 11 at the Capitol Visitor’s Center.

Several of the films feature military filmmakers and actors, including Folleh Tamba, a U.S. Marine and Purple Heart recipient, who wrote and directed the documentary short film “A Line of Departure.”  Tamba’s mother hails from Sierra Leone, the land of blood diamonds; his father is from Liberia, in West Africa.  He survived a civil war and his film documents his time as he is about to go war for his adopted country of America. 

“From start to finish our 2011 festival offers an exceptional line-up of films covering all aspects of the life of an American GI inside and outside the arena of war,” said Brandon Millett, festival Co-Founder and President.  “But we’re not just screening films; we’re creating experiences.  Festival-goers will not only enjoy watching great independent films they cannot see anywhere else, but they will also be able to meet real-life GI heroes and mingle with our celebrity guests.”

The week-long festival, held during Armed Forces Appreciation Month, will bring Hollywood and the military together to create a venue for artists to tell the story of the American soldier, both past and present.  The festival will also include seminars and nightly events, including a “launch party,” Congressional reception, Wounded Warrior Appreciation Night, A Salute to Hollywood Patriots, a Hollywood premier screening, and a “Best of the GI Film Festival” awards ceremony. 

The GI Film Festival will also host a “Filmmaker Boot Camp” to teach filmmakers all the tools necessary to get their films into the marketplace.  GI Film Festival Chairman and award-winning filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon will host the boot camp, which will take place at the Canadian Embassy on Friday, May 13.

The majority of the festival’s screenings and events will take place at the U.S. Navy Memorial at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, while some events and screenings will be hosted by other prestigious venues around Washington, DC.

Each year the festival attracts members of Congress, veterans, active duty soldiers, and filmmakers from throughout the world.  Past GIFF attendees include actors Gary Sinise, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Jeremy Renner, Kelsey Grammer, Rick Schroder, Faizon Love and Karri Turner; journalists Bob Woodruff and Greta Van Susteren; Senators John McCain, John Thune, Daniel K. Inouye, Scott Brown and former Senator Fred Thompson; General George Casey, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; General Skip Sharp, Commander U.S. Armed Forces, Korea; General (ret) Jack Keane; and Representatives Ed Whitfield and Catherine McMorris Rodgers; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and Ambassador Paul Bremer, to name a few.

In a short time, the GI Film Festival has become the nation’s premiere venue for screening military films.  Owing to this success, on Veteran’s Day Weekend 2010, the GI Film Festival launched a new television series with Discovery’s Military Channel, which broadcast select GI Film Festival films into 57 million homes nationwide.  Moreover, in 2010, the GI Film Festival (GIFF) was the recipient of the ‘American Legion’s National Commander’s Public Relations Award,’ previously presented to Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, Lou Dobbs and Jack Valenti.

Go to www.gifilmfestival for more information.

About Brandon Millett: Co-founder of the GI Film Festival, a national non-profit organization dedicated to honoring the U.S. Military, and as a communications and media professional, Mr. Millett has advised a variety of organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to non-profit start-ups.  His media campaigns have earned coverage from virtually every major news outlet worldwide, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian, to name a few. His work has appeared in numerous top publications, including The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and the Baltimore Sun and he has conducted hundreds of interviews on national radio and television programs.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

BLACK OUT: The Top 11 Threats to the Power Grid

Today's news reported dozens of tornadoes that killed 201 in 6 Southern states. [more...] St. Louis last week, now Arkansas - devastated by monster tornadoes tearing up the landscape, ripping homes to shreds, even taking lives. But how can we better prepare for these devastating storms?  Brian Brawdy, survival expert and editor of knows how to get you prepared for when they strike. BLACK OUT: The Top 11 Threats to the Power Grid is a new report on that everyone should read.

It hits the ground like a runaway freight train, eating up and spitting out everything in its path for two and a half miles. At 300 yards wide with 160 mph winds, nothing can stop it.

Each year, the U.S. experiences an average of 1,000 tornadoes, with the most powerful storms destroying whole towns and knotting up high-voltage transmission towers like twist-ties. While some power lines have more backups in heavily populated areas, many rural parts of the country do not. When a tornado crosses paths with a 30-year-old high-tension line in parts of the Midwest or west Texas, whole regions can go dark for days.

Most storm blackouts, however, come from far less spectacular weather. Usually, it's just a little summer thunderstorm. People think that lightning probably hit a tree or a power line a few blocks away and that the lights will be on in a few minutes. But what's happening now with sky-high 21st century energy demand is that major disruptions to the power grid happen more frequently because the grid is stretched so thinly. In the last 30 years, intensive urban sprawl has stretched the grid out so tautly that a single weather event can have catastrophic consequences for entire regions of the country.

Severe weather is a fact of life. In the face of increasing demand with limited resources, consumers need to be prepared to be on their own for days at a time - perhaps even longer. [more...]

Monday, April 25, 2011

RAWHIDE DOWN: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan

For the first time, a minute-by-minute account of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan


The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan

By Del Quentin Wilber

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was just seventy days into his first term of office when John Hinckley, Jr. opened fire outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, wounding the president, the press secretary, a Secret Service agent, and a D.C. police officer. Few people know the truth about how close the president came to dying; and the full story of that day of chaos, terror, and great heroism has been incomplete for thirty years.

Now, for the first time, Del Quentin Wilber, an award-winning reporter for The Washington Post, provides a minute-by-minute account of this day in RAWHIDE DOWN: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan. Drawing on exclusive new sources and extensive interviews, Wilber tells the electrifying story of the Secret Service agent whose fast reflexes saved the president’s life, the brilliant surgeons who operated on Reagan as he was losing half his blood, and the inner circle of White House officials in charge of managing the crisis.

Most especially, Wilber unveils a portrait of the man code-named "Rawhide," a leader of uncommon grace who inspired affection and awe in everyone who encountered him at this defining moment. Reagan's presidency was famously well choreographed, but March 30, 1981, was the most unscripted day of Reagan's life, and his poise and humor in the face of chaos sealed his image in the modern American political firmament.

With cinematic clarity, Wilber brings to life this dramatic and historic day of heroism, prayer, and hope. RAWHIDE DOWN fills in gaps in history and finally tells the complete record of the day the only serving U.S. president survived being shot in an assassination attempt.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Del Quentin Wilber is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Post. He has spent most of his career covering law enforcement and sensitive security issues, and his work has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Visit the official Web site: for exclusive interviews, videos, photos, FBI reports, Secret Service reports, medical forms, court transcripts, and more.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What Was I Thinking? The Dumb Things We Do and How to Avoid Them

What Was I Thinking? The Dumb Things We Do and How to Avoid Them is an in-depth exploration, both serious and humorous, of the dumb things we all do and how we can stop them from messing up our lives by William Helmreich, a prominent sociologist at CUNY Graduate Center.  It sheds new light on the well-known foibles of the rich and famous - Bill Clinton, Martha Stewart, John Edwards, Roger Clemens, Bess Myerson, James Frey, Paris Hilton, Saddam Hussein, Lindsay Lohan, Stew Leonard, and many others. In addition to these well-known personalities, this book also deals with the many dumb things ordinary folks do - for example: telling your boss off and losing your job; ending a great friendship over something minor; road rage; suing someone over something not worth spending a lot of time on; or lying when you don't have to.

But this is far more than an entertaining read. Based on hundreds of interviews and exhaustive research, Helmreich concludes that this behavior isn't only a result of psychological problems; it's also based on our very culture, history, and values. Topics discussed include the larger world we live in, arrogance, honor, looking for the easy way out, paranoia, and insecurity.

Only when we understand these causes, says Helmreich, can we begin to address our behavior and improve our lives. The stories of how and why these people screwed up their lives are meant to be cautionary tales from whom valuable lessons can be learned. In addition, Helmreich drives home these lessons with 42 concrete solutions and suggestions on how to avoid doing dumb things.

This is a topic that Helmreich has explored for a very long time and with every passing day, another famous person does something dumb; yet we're all still stunned by the news. Dr. Helmreich's recent article in Newsday - "Men (and women) behaving badly," is about the resignation of "David Sokol, who just threw away a chance for the world's best job - succeeding Warren Buffett as head of Berkshire Hathaway - because of questionable financial behavior." Helmreich added, "Did he forget what happened to Martha Stewart?  Hadn't he heard of Bernie Madoff, Enron, WorldCom and the many other names that have become synonymous with corruption, dishonesty or misuse of insider information?"

"These people (and so many more) now have tarnished reputations, but have they really been punished?  It seems that these days, all you have to do is issue a sincere-sounding apology - adding, perhaps, that you're in therapy or you've found God - and all is forgiven.  The rest of us are reluctant to banish these people.  We need our heroes as much as they need us.  But there's a real danger here - one that threatens to destroy the trust that society depends upon.  Its most common expression is, 'Everyone does it.'

"There's a way out of this mess, but it won't be easy.  Schools need to develop ethics programs that begin in pre-K and continue throughout their education.  We also need to punish the misbehaving icons of society - sending Lindsay Lohan to jail for violating her probation was a good example.  Everyone - especially young people - is watching, and bad behavior merits consequences; and we need to create positive peer pressure that looks down on dishonesty."

Having lived in the Middle East in preparation for a film, Helmreich interviewed Hamas leaders and other terrorists.  He says on Muammar Qaddafi: "Never back an unstable person into a corner unless they're harmless. With a trained army, thousands of African mercenaries, large stockpiles of weaponry, including 23 tons of mustard gas, vast oil reserves, and billions of dollars in cash, Muammar Qaddafi could make a lot of trouble, including unleashing terrorist attacks throughout the world, something he has done in the past. He's a paranoid megalomaniac, given to delusions of grandeur. That type of individual will act irrationally if pressured enough.

"To back Qaddafi into a corner would be dumb. Even if you win, you lose in terms of the collateral damage. The right strategy is to punish him and show you mean business without attacking his sense of honor or threatening him with death. If he feels he has a way out, he may retreat. He did it before when he paid 1.5 billion in damages for terrorism and the U.N. and the U.S. basically forgave him. So it's worth a shot."

William Helmreich, a prominent sociologist at CUNY Graduate Center, is the author of What Was I Thinking: The Dumb Things We Do and How to Avoid Them. He has been interviewed by Oprah and Larry King and regularly offers expert commentary on radio and television. He's also head of the City College Conflict Resolution Center. In preparation for a film on the Middle East, Helmreich interviewed Hamas leaders and other terrorists.

Monday, April 11, 2011

'Food Shock' Report Details Real Story Behind Rising Food Prices & How Families Can Find Relief

The world's food supply is shrinking and as it does the price of food continues to climb, reaching record levels and leaving most of the global population in a state of emergency. This isn't an opinion created out of thin air; it's a strong message that has been researched and delivered by the United Nations. In an article published on on March 31, 2011 a representative from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization surmised that world food production would have to increase by 70 percent by 2050 to meet the increasing demand from an expanding global population that is expected to eclipse the 9.1 billion mark by 2050, a dramatic rise from the 6.9 billion that make up today's world population.

Simply put, we need a real solution to the global food crisis. While recognition from the UN may help legitimize the food supply crisis we now face it doesn't solve the problem. For that solution we are forced to look elsewhere and fortunately the answers are delivered in a special report titled "Food Shock: Why 2011 Could Be the Most Important Year Ever to Plant a Family Garden," now available for download when individuals sign up for the free weekly newsletter.

Authored by founder Bill Heid along with political analyst and survival expert Brian Brawdy, "Food Shock: Why 2011 Could Be the Most Important Year Ever to Plant a Family Garden" not only details the issues and events that have caused food prices to increase, it explains how a single setback like a regional drought, natural disaster, or crop disease could threaten the entire world's food supply, as well as provides reasons for why food production has become more difficult and reveals how the quality of the crops produced has actually become not only less nutritious but toxic. The special report also outlines steps that can be taken by each individual to ensure that these issues can easily be overcome and the safety of the food supply can be protected. [more...]