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Florida State Univ held its 6th annual Student Veteran Film Festival on Saturday.
Topping off a week dedicated to veterans on campus, Florida State University held its sixth annual Student Veteran Film Festival on Saturday at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall.

Each year the university – in cooperation with Office of the President, Student Veterans Center, Florida State Collegiate Veterans Association, Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Association, Student Government Association and the College of Motion Picture Arts – showcases a film that depicts the realities men and women face while serving in the armed forces. In doing so, the university hopes to raise awareness of veterans’ issues among the campus and local community.

The festival featured the critically acclaimed documentary Citizen Soldier. The film illustrates the stories behind the members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Thunderbirds Brigade during a particularly volatile time in Afghanistan.

Citizen Soldier currently ranks among the best-selling documentaries of the year because of its unprecedented glimpse into the war in Afghanistan. As the name foretells, the soldiers in the film were called into active duty from the National Guard, changing their statuses from citizens to soldiers within a few hours. The film focuses on Sgt. Eran Harrill, who chose to defer his education and instead be deployed to fight the war.

Last Thursday, the university held a media event with the film’s co-directors David Salzberg and Christian Tureaud along with Vince Williams, president of FSU Collegiate Veterans Association, and Erica Menendez, director of the Veterans Student Union. Frank Patterson, dean of the College of Motion Picture Arts, was also present.

Williams, who became a Marine in 2006 and later pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology at FSU, told media how the festival continues to raise awareness of veterans’ issues by depicting the struggles of a military service member.

“It gives [our student body] a short snapshot of what [soldiers] go through,” Williams said.

Williams said that oftentimes, veterans on campus are only identified as such because they are older than the rest of the student body, and that student veterans choose to remain humble about their service for many reasons.

“It’s not because they aren’t proud of their service, it’s because they do not want any special treatment,” Williams said.

The university has made it a primary initiative to be a more inclusive campus for student veterans and is currently the only university to host a student veterans film festival. During the media event, Dean Patterson spoke on how film can fuel understanding to those that are not completely aware of emotional complexities of our servicemen and women.

“One of the common themes throughout this whole festival has been understanding the humanity of our vets, understanding their lives behind the scenes in ways I just don’t think we all recognize,” Dean Patterson said. “We’re injecting [awareness of veterans’ issues] into the ecosystem that is Florida State University.”

Salzberg and Tureaud were honored on Saturday with the Student Veteran’s Torchlight Award for Outstanding Filmmaking. The two were honored with the same award last year for their film, The Hornet’s Nest. Salzberg, a now familiar friend of the university, commended the school for its efforts.

“Having this school do what it does for veterans is incredible – we need more colleges to do it,” Salzberg said.

The Torchlight Award will be donated to the National Guard Association and the Oklahoma 45th Museum to continue honoring the country’s ‘citizen soldiers.’

Taken From:- http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2016/11/12/6th-annual-student-vetera...
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