Filmmaker Jackie Wright with her daughter and grand daughter, present film on veteran father. (Left to Right) –
San Francisco Veterans Film Festival Founder, Eddie Ramirez, Tiffanie Chiles-Mitchell, TBD grand daughter, Filmmakers Jackie Wright and Jack LiVolsi at the San Francisco Public Library’s Koret Theater.
The 6th Annual San Francisco Veterans Film Festival was held last weekend at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery at the War Memorial Veterans Building and Koret Theater in the San Francisco Public Library. The festival featured 13 films including Battlefield: Home–Breaking The Silence by Anita Sugimura Holsapple, Honor Flight: Vietnam by Ross Raventos, and Love Separated In Life…Love Reunited In Honor by Jackie Wright and Jack LiVolsi.
Filmmaker Jackie Wright, shared her film’s journey of losing her dad while a toddler and the decades of silence thereafter. At a family reunion in 2012, she discovered that her father’s remains were buried in an un-kept segregated cemetery.
In disbelief, Wright took the steps to exhume her father’s remains and her deceased mother’s remains and unite them at Arlington National Cemetery.
The irony is that both parents died on Monday, March 9th, six years apart; Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. (December 10, 1931-March 9, 1964) and Ouida McLendon Wright (January 10, 1935-March 9, 1970). At a ceremony in 2014, both were re-buried and reunited in death.
Wright explained that re-locating her father’s remains was a multi-year process and that research and a chance trip to Vietnam revealed that her father, SP5 Wyley Wright, Jr. of the 114th Aviation Airmobile Company, where he served as crew chief, had nicknamed their unit, The Cobras. Shannon-Wright Compound, a base in Vinh Long, Vietnam was also named in honor of him and a captain.
Wright said that her dad served the entire country for 15 years in the U.S. Army, just 5 years away from retirement and that being in a segregated unkept cemetery did not honor the sacrifices he and his family made for the United States. “My dad served his country and gave his life,” she said. She is grateful to have moved them both to an area near “The Wall,” at the Arlington National Cemetery.
“This process, the travels and the filming has been very healing for my family and I,” said Wright. Wright’s daughter Tiffanie Chiles-Mitchell and granddaughter, flew in from Dallas, Texas to attend the screening with other supporters and friends including Kelly Armstrong. “This experience is very surreal,” said Chiles-Mitchell.
During the panel discussion with the filmmakers, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions of the panelists and express their feelings. Founder of the film festival, Eduardo “Eddie” Ramirez served as moderator and says he created the festival as a public forum for veterans and civilian filmmakers to share their experiences, stories and spotlight issues about veterans and military-related topics.
“I want the festival to help further healing in the veteran community and bring greater awareness to the public on the challenges our nation’s veterans face,” said Ramirez who served in the U.S. Air Force and retired as a Master Sargent. Through his other organization, OneVet OneVoice he advocates for veterans facing service gaps and improved service delivery within the V.A.
For more information, visit www.sfveteransfilmfestival.org