On Wednesday, September 11, at 7:00pm, the Park Cinemas in Paso Robles will host a screening of 2002’s WE WERE SOLDIERS, which was partially shot at nearby Fort Hunter Liggett. This is the third event in a series that is part of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival’s 20th Anniversary celebration.
Presented by MidAmerican Solar, proud owner of Topaz Solar Farms, the series is also sponsored by Visit San Luis Obispo County & Film Commission; Cliffs Resort, Apple Farm, Sycamore Mineral Springs and SeaVenture Resort; Q104.5 and the New Times. WE WERE SOLDIERS is also sponsored by First Solar and the Park Cinemas.
Based on a book by General Harold G. Moore, We Were Soldiers Once…And Young, the film tells the story of a savage battle during the Vietnam War in a place dubbed The Valley of Death. Lt. Colonel Hal Moore and 400 young troopers from the elite newly formed American 7th “Air” Cavalry were surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers who had dug into the mountainside. The ensuing battle was one of the most savage in U.S. history and is sometimes compared to “Custer’s Last Stand.”
WE WERE SOLDIERS stars Mel Gibson as Lt. Col. Moore, Greg Kinnear (2011 SLOIFF King Vidor Award recipient), Sam Elliott, Madeline Stowe and Chris Klein. Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm has a small part as well.
First Solar is proudly sponsoring this event, with partial proceeds being donated to 7 year old Atascadero resident, Devin Gregoire. His father, Darryl, is a construction superintendent for Topaz Solar Farms. Devin suffers from a form of epilepsy called Absence Epilepsy. When diagnosed two years ago, at the age of 5, they discovered that the usual medications for this disease had the opposite effect on him. Devin suffered up to 200 seizures a day for almost a year, before his parents discovered how to decrease the number of attacks. He is now medication free and on a special pediatric diet, but he still experiences 30 to 40 seizures a day. The next step is for Devin to go to UCLA’s Children’s Hospital to have several pre-surgical tests to see if the seizures can be corrected with surgery. In the meantime he will also be starting a “Ketogenic Diet”, which has become a full-time job for his mom, Dana. Devin and his parents will be in attendance and donations of any size will be gratefully accepted. See Devin’s Facebook page.
This event is dedicated to this brave young man.
It will also be dedicated to one of the few soldiers who survived the battle depicted in WE WERE SOLDIERS. Lt. Rick Rescorla, survived Vietnam to die heroically instead, on September 11, 2001 while working as the head of security for Morgan Stanley. He made sure that all employees of the company were evacuated when the Twin Towers collapsed. Heart of a Lion, was written about his amazing life and the SLOIFF is proud to remember him as someone who embodied the American courage, strength and loyalty we are reminded of every 9/11.
WE WERE SOLDIERS is rated R for sustained sequences of graphic war violence, and for language.
Passes for the entire SLO County on the Silver Screen series are available and discounted for SLOIFF Film Society members (donors of $50 or more for the 2013/14 season.) Passes cost $99 for SLOIFF Film Society members, $110 for everyone else and pass holders get priority seating up to 15 minutes before all screenings. Individual tickets are available online and at the door for $8/$10. Click here to purchase passes or tickets.