Veteran Documentary Corps receives grant from Veterans Affairs to make 10 films

A person holds a film slate for Veteran Documentary Corps and director Daniel L. Bernardi in front of a person's face and a darkly lit background

Funded by nearly half a million dollars from the National Cemetery Administration’s Veterans Legacy Program, the films will honor veterans interred in national cemeteries

San Francisco State University Professor and Director of the Veteran Documentary Corps Daniel Bernardi has received a grant from the National Cemetery Administration’s Veterans Legacy Program (VLP) to make 10 films honoring veterans interred in six national cemeteries.

The Veterans Legacy Program commemorates the nation’s veterans and service members through the discovery and sharing of their stories. The VLP encourages students and teachers around the country at the university and K – 12 levels to immerse themselves in the rich historical resources found within U.S. Veterans Affairs’ National Cemetery Administration grant-funded cemeteries.

The VLP grant is for $487,674. With it, Bernardi plans to make the films with the help of three School of Cinema graduate students, numerous undergraduate interns and alumni filmmakers such as Andrés Gallegos, Hannah Anderson, Robert Barbarino and Joshua Cardenas, among others.

“Not only do we get to make films about veterans, showing the diversity of that community, but we make them with students involved in all stages of production,” says Bernardi. “We also bring back accomplished alumni to take on directing, cinematography and editing roles, thereby giving our students that chance to learn from the best while seeing where they can end-up with hard work and creative thinking.”

The films will tell the stories of the first trans woman elected to public office (U.S. Army), a Lesbian couple that won the right to be buried together (U.S. Air Force), a member of the first African Americans allowed in to the Marine Corps (U.S. Marine Corps), a member of the all-African American 6888th Batallion during World War II (U.S. Army), a Buffalo Soldier (U.S. Calvary), a Native American leader (U.S. Army) and more.

The Veteran Documentary Corps is one of six grantees. The other recipients are the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Loyola Marymount University, Santa Fe Community College, University of Central Florida and the West Virginia Humanities Council. “Working with educational institutions and nonprofit organizations furthers the National Cemetery Administration’s mission while preserving the legacies of our nation’s heroes,” according to Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Matt Quinn.

View past films by the Veteran Documentary Corps on YouTube.