Fri
12

RI International Film Festival FREE Film Screening: GOLD STAR CHILDREN

Friday, August 12, 2011

1:00 PM-3:00 PM

Cost: Free

Providence Public Library
150 Empire Street
Providence, RI 02903

Auditorium (3rd Floor)

GOLD STAR CHILDREN, Mitty Griffis Mirrer (2010)

Gold Star Children is a documentary about America’s children of war: survivors whose mothers or fathers were killed or died while serving our country. The film is a first-person narrative, told through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl and adult-children of the Vietnam War who are reaching out to help heal this younger generation of survivors. This documentary takes an intimate look at a unique part of the American story – one that is happening now. The film opens with 9-year-old Cierra running through a dirt field in south Texas. She explains she is running for her daddy, training for a race she will run in Washington, DC. Cierra explains she feels like she is the only one this has ever happened to. Her father was killed in Iraq. It is that loneliness of a Gold Star child the film explores as Cierra shares her fears, hopes and pain. Forty-three year old Jeanette is also a war orphan. She was two when her father was killed in Vietnam. Her story begins with the images of black and white video of her father holding her as a baby just before he left for duty. Jeanette discovered the film as an adult. She explains watching the film over and over and over. The film introduces five survivors of the Vietnam War, all of whom lived through an era when their grief was silenced. It was a time when there were no support groups specifically for families and child survivors of war. The events of September 11, 2001 changed everything. For the first time, Jeanette and other survivors of the Vietnam War began to ask the question, what can I do to help a new generation of war orphans. In the act of reaching out, many survivors of the Vietnam War are finally able to heal. While a new generation of children may not face as much anti-war sentiment, their stories are difficult all the same: Cierra must leave her military home base and friends in Alaska, fifteen year old Erin found her father hanging in their garage shortly after he returned from war, ten year old Westin worries his father will be forgotten. Arlington National Cemetery’s section 60 is filling up with the new grave sites of young combat casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan. Jeanette stoops down to help a child at the grave site of her father who was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan. This image brings together the idea of healing for both generations. For the Vietnam era children who were treated indifferently, directly or indirectly, by the military and the culture, this new generation of war orphans is the change to get it right. Gold Star Children examines the common threads that run through the lives of all children whose father or mother was killed in war. Ultimately, it is about the importance of honoring a person’s story. Today’s generation of Gold Star children is healing with yesterday’s child survivors of war. 

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