The Villages honors veterans through films

City hosts Military Film Festival

THE VILLAGES, Fla. – The Villages is presenting the Military Film Festival, a four-day event to share stories about veterans,  for the first time.

"The Villages is such a veteran-rich community, there are over 35,000 veterans that call The Villages home at one point or another," Marie Bogdonoff, founder and CEO of Villagers for Veterans, said.

The idea is for the event to serve as a way to educate the public about issues veterans face.

"There's no better way to educate people than to show it through film," Bogdonoff said.

The film festival is taking place at the Villages Old Mill Playhouse. 

"The theater division, it brings a lot of people into the town squares. We feel honored that it's held here, that's the least we could do for the veterans," Bob Burroughs, a veteran and manager of the theater said.

The Military Film festival is being hosted in partnership with VetFlicks, a nonprofit organization that helps distribute film content.

"What we seek most is authenticity. As a veteran myself who served from 1987 to 1992 in the United States Army, I want to make sure that the people who serve our country have a voice because it's a huge sacrifice to (enlist) your name and sometimes Hollywood gets it wrong," Marcus Bovee, founder and CEO of VetFlicks said. "This festival, there's so much great content, very diverse, well-made content, movies about veterans who served over in WWII, Vietnam..."

Films such as "Last Man Club,"  "Charlie Wilson's War," "The Deer Hunter" and the classic movie "Wings," as well as documentary films will be shown. 

Among attendees will be Peter Huh, of Adopt History, an organization focused on showcasing soldiers' experiences.

"We want to help document these WWII surviving veterans that, unfortunately, we're losing on a daily basis. So we want to make sure we start there, we're working back toward the Korean veterans, the Vietnam veterans, the first Iraq war and so on," Huh said. "Our mission is to really raise awareness and gratitude for those who served in our military."

Adopt History is currently working on a project in which anyone can adopt a tombstone at the national cemetery for $25. The donation will go toward a wreath that will be placed on the veteran's tombstone on Memorial Day. When visiting AdoptOurHeroes.org, choose from the 137 national cemeteries.

If someone has a veteran story to tell, go to AdoptHistory.org and choose Contact Us so the group can build HeroArchive.com.

To make a donation, click here.

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