We're honored to announce that the Sarasota Film Festival has selected Unclaimed to screen twice on opening weekend (April 5 -6) as part of the festival's "Acts of Valor" program. Sponsored by The Patterson Foundation and its "Legacy of Valor" initiative and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the lineup of 15 fiction films and documentaries were chosen because they seek to "showcase and honor our veterans." The "Acts of Valor" program is described as "....a unique series that demonstrates the power of cinematic storytelling to celebrate the men and women who have served our country." Major Steve Schofield, Special Forces U.S. Army (Retired) will be in attendance. Major Schofield is one of the participants in Unclaimed, describing the heroic efforts of MACV-SOG units during the Vietnam War. We're grateful that such a public spotlight is being shown upon the sacrifices and contributions made by Major Schofield and all veterans alike.
Allan Leader, CSC, has been nominated to receive a prestigious Canadian Society of Cinematographers (CSC) award for his work as Director of Photography on Unclaimed. The recipient of the Robert Brooks Award for Documentary Cinematography will be announced at the upcoming 57th Annual CSC Awards in March.
Unclaimed has been awarded the coveted "Best Jury Documentary Directing" award by the Bel-Air Film Festival. In conjunction with the USC School of Cinematic Arts "Outside the Box" showcase, the film screened on October 8 at the beautiful Ray Stark Family Theatre inside the George Lucas Building at USC. Alex Ago, a director at the School of Cinematic Arts, was kind enough to give us a private tour of the tremendous facilities at the school before the screening. We were also honored to have Brad Stromberg, the Edmonton (Canada) Film Commissioner in attendance. Many thanks to Melody Storm, President of the Bel-Air Film Festival, and her team for a wonderful experience!
Unclaimed was selected to open the WESTDOC Conference with an exclusive screening on September 16. Hailed by industry insiders as the comprehensive, "go-to" conference for the documentary and reality communities, WESTDOC selects only one documentary each year to screen. Many thanks to WESTDOC co-founders and industry leaders Chuck Braverman and Richard Propper for giving Unclaimed this honor in 2013!
An excerpt from the press release distributed by WESTDOC today:
"The WESTDOC Conference (Sept. 15-18 at the Landmark) continues its tradition of presenting complex, timely and compelling feature documentaries at the upcoming fourth annual conference. WESTDOC co-founders Chuck Braverman and Richard Propper are thrilled to present Unclaimed's West Coast premiere. Hailed by critics, Unclaimed is a dramatic and riveting new documentary, directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Jorgensen of Myth Merchant Films, which chronicles the dramatic and emotional journey of war-torn Vietnam veteran Tom Faunce, who has dedicated his life "to leaving no man behind." Faunce's search is captured via a masterfully crafted story of two men whose lives intersect through the burdens of war."
One of several follow-up articles by Associated Press Robert Burns was published yesterday.
PENTAGON TO PROBE ALLEGED WASTE, FRAUD IN MIA UNIT
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is investigating alleged waste and misuse of taxpayer dollars by a military-led unit responsible for finding, recovering and identifying U.S. service members missing in action from past conflicts. The investigation was disclosed Thursday at a Senate hearing held in response to an Associated Press story revealing an internal Pentagon report that said the search for soldiers' remains on foreign battlefields by the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command was inept, mismanaged, wasteful and dysfunctional.
Read full article here: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/pentagon-probe-alleged-waste-fraud-mia-unit
On July 8, Robert Burns, National Security Reporter for the Associated Press, first broke the story regarding the Pentagon's "inept" and fraudulent mismanagement of the effort to account for tens of thousands of Americans missing in action. Burns' information stemmed from an internal study that had been suppressed by military officials.
MIA EFFORTS RISK 'TOTAL FAILURE'
WASHINGTON (AP) —The Pentagon's effort to account for tens of thousands of Americans missing in action from foreign wars is so inept, mismanaged and wasteful that it risks descending from "dysfunction to total failure," according to an internal study suppressed by military officials. Largely beyond the public spotlight, the decades-old pursuit of bones and other MIA evidence is sluggish, often duplicative and subjected to too little scientific rigor, the report says. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the internal study after Freedom of Information Act requests for it by others were denied. The report paints a picture of a Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, a military-run group known as JPAC and headed by a two-star general, as woefully inept and even corrupt. The command is digging up too few clues on former battlefields, relying on inaccurate databases and engaging in expensive "boondoggles" in Europe, the study concludes.
Read full article here: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-impact-mia-efforts-risk-total-failure
Congratulations to Unclaimed's Director of Photography, Allan Leader CSC, for winning the Alberta Film and Television Award for Best Cinematographer! Allan was recognized for his beautiful work on Unclaimed.
An interesting story in relation to Unclaimed... A former Soviet Army soldier who went missing in action in 1980 during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has been found alive almost 33 years after he was rescued by Afghan tribesmen.
See the full story on CNN.com here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/06/world/asia/missing-russian-soldier-found-afghanistan/index.html?hpt=hp_t2
The organizers of the esteemed Hot Docs International Documentary Festival screened Unclaimed at a private reception for the festival's sponsors, board members and invited guests last night. Organizers chose the film to serve as a "preview of excellence" for the upcoming festival. Filmmaker Michael Jorgensen was invited to attend the gala and took part in a post-screening Q&A. He reports that the audience reaction was very emotional.
Unclaimed has been chosen to screen at the 2013 GI Film Festival in Washington, D.C.! The film will hold its U.S. premiere on Sunday, May 12 at 12:00 p.m. For more info and to purchase tickets, please see www.gifilmfestival.com The GI Film Festival's mission is to preserve the stories of the American veteran through the medium of film and television. We're honored to take part in this year's lineup!