Geneva Anderson digs into art

Today is Veterans Day: here’s a free film program that’s sure to inform and intrigue the Vet in your life

Escuadrón 201 or “Aztec Eagles” pilots, part of the Mexican Air Force, fought alongside the United States forces during World War II and were the only military unit in the history of Mexico to engage in combat outside of its national borders. Here are the Aztec Eagles prior to flying a combat mission in the Philippines. The Mexican aircrews used standard issue U.S. flight uniforms and equipment. Photo: courtesy U.S. Air Force

Special Free Film Program at Lincoln Theatre, in Yountville, in honor of Veteran’s Day, sponsored by the Napa Valley Film Festival, Friday, November 11, 2011 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Forgotten Eagles (Las Águilas Olvidadas), (70 minute, documentary feature, 2006) tells the story of the legendary “Aztec Eagles” of the Mexican Expeditionary Air Force.   Arriving in San Francisco on Thursday from Mexico City to participate in the film screening will be two members of Aztec Eagles Escuadrón 201: Capt. Fernando Nava Musa and Capt. Manuel Cervantes Ramos who flew with the American 58th Fighter Group on Luzon in 1945.

 The Aztec Eagles were an elite unit of young volunteer Mexican fighter pilots who flew combat missions in support of American and Filipino ground forces in the struggle to free Luzon from the Japanese occupation. They were decorated by the United States, Mexico and the Republic of the Philippines for valor and sacrifice in the cause of freedom. They received the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, the Philippine Liberation Medal and, recently, the Philippine Legion of Honor, personally bestowed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The film was directed and produced by Mexican-American director/producer Victor Hugo Mancilla; producers Rodger and Felicity Marrs and Jerry Smolinsky. It is introduced and narrated by noted Latino actor Edward James Olmos. It was filmed over a five-year period in Mexico, the Philippines and the United States. Mancilla, a Mexican American filmmaker, has worked on productions in Latin America, Europe and the Far East. He has had extensive experience as an author, producer, director and journalist and is considered by many to be a rising star in the film industry.

The Forgotten Eagles was the brainchild of the late Roger Marrs, a Los Angeles attorney and WWII veteran who provided the initial funding and impetus for the production.

“When I was a child I recall my father saying that the Aztec Eagles were great heroes, so I was honored when I was asked to make a film about them…this is an inspiring, compelling story of personal courage and sacrifice, and of two allied nations – one a former sister colony – who helped the Philippines in a time of need.” said Mancilla.

Journey Home:  A 22 minute short that honors the sacrifice of veterans and their families, Journey Home (US, 2010), was written, directed by and also stars Christopher Loverro.  When the main character’s best friend is killed in an ambush in Iraq, he volunteers to return home to notify his wife.  Journey Home explores the themes of sacrifice, selfless duty, the loss of a comrade and the impact of loss on the families of those who were lost.

Petaluma Veterans Day Parade and Flyover: Friday November 11, 2011, 1pm, Walnut Park, Petaluma, FREE

If you like aircrafts, parades, and an airshow, you’ll love the Petaluma Veteran’s Day Parade and Flyover, in beautiful downtown Petaluma. Vintage war birds and sleek air racers fly-in to take part in what has been called the “largest Veterans Day Parade north of the Golden Gate.” The Petaluma Veterans Day Parade and Flyover features war planes that fly in formation over Historic Downtown Petaluma. The parade winds its way north from its starting point at Walnut Park at “D” Street and finishes back at Walnut Park.

November 11, 2011 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment