Veteran Filmmaker

A Rancho Bernardo resident’s short film won three awards at the 3rd Annual GI Film Festival San Diego. Mark Vizcarra is a Navy veteran, and his film, titled “Once Guilty, Now Innocent, Still Dead,” won awards for Best Narrative Short and Best Film Made by a Veteran or Service Member, as well as Best Actor for Larry Poole’s performance.

The festival welcomes films of any genre and topic made by military members or veterans living in San Diego County or Imperial County, as well as military-themed films made by local residents, starring local residents, made locally, or specifically highlighting the local military experience. This year’s event included 33 films total, with two world premieres and eight West Coast premieres. They covered a wide range of topics, from women in the military to resiliency and recovery to the LGBTQ+ community.

Vizcarra’s 15-minute film is a historical narrative of crime, power, and corruption in 1902 Wyoming. Other 2017 winners were Mike Seely and John Kane’s “Exiled” (Best Documentary Short and Audience Choice Award); David Romero’s “USO San Diego 75 Year Anniversary” (Spirit of San Diego Award and Local Choice Award); and Kayla Schaffroth for her role in “Fletcher & Jenks” (Best Actress).

Over 100 people attended the award ceremony, hosted by comedian and former U.S. Navy Officer Jamie Kaler and featuring entertainment by the American Flyboys. Learn more about GI Film Festival San Diego at