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Lex McMahon

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National Military Appreciation Month Tribute Screening of "Witt’s Daughter" & Event to Support the Troops

Beverly Hills, CA, May 29, 2009 --( Members of the entertainment industry, representatives of the military, veteran’s advocacy groups, and the local community will gather at the Fine Arts Theatre to raise funds and awareness to support the troops and to view a National Military Appreciation Month tribute screening of “Witt’s Daughter” a poignant and uplifting film that tackles some of the issues confronting military personnel and their families as they return from lengthy deployments and the harsh realities of combat.

"Witt's Daughter” tells the bittersweet story of Walter Stringfield, a young man freshly discharged from the Korean War who comes home to his wife and child without warning and expects everything to be as he left it. However he discovers that in his absence, his three-year-old daughter has no memory of him and sees him as an unwelcome stranger.

Filmmaker, Carole Holliday and the Fine Arts Theatre have teamed up with veteran advocacy and support groups such as Operation Gratitude, The Soldier’s Project, and The National Veterans Foundation to utilize the screening as a non-political platform to generate awareness about the challenges that military members and their families face after they return home from combat deployments. $2.00 from each ticket will be donated to Operation Gratitude, A non-profit organization that sends care packages and letters to the service men and women overseas. “It’s an honor to be an official selection in film festivals, but after being chosen for three successive ones because of “Witt’s Daughter’s” military setting, I started thinking about the real service members and what could I do to encourage them. I’m honored the film can benefit Operation Gratitude, and am excited about the events that have sprung up around the idea of paying tribute to the troops and shining a light on the needs of homecoming service members”, said Carole Holliday.

Lieutenant Colonel Marcus Custer, an Army Green Beret who commanded a Special Forces Battalion in Afghanistan, and who will be one of the featured speakers at the event, said, "I know first hand how these packages can boost the morale of the troops. My Soldiers and I received similar packages in Afghanistan. The idea that people at home are thinking about you - taking the time to put a package together and personally write a letter - it makes a huge difference. It's not so much about what's in the package as much as what the package itself represents."

Following the screening will be a Q & A session moderated by Lex McMahon, a prior service Marine who served multiple combat deployments in Somalia, with representatives from: Operation Gratitude, The Soldier’s Project, The National Veteran’s Foundation, Members of the Cast and Crew of Witt’s Daughter, and Marine Gunnery Sgt. Cesar Espinoza and his wife Lindsey. “This a great event as it raises funds and awareness for an important cause, the support of our troops and their families, and shines the spotlight on a community working together to do the right thing,” said Lex McMahon

The Fine Arts Theatre’s Special Programs Manager, Pam Koller said, “The Fine Arts Theatre is a historic landmark and has been playing a vital role in the showcasing of important films and facilitating a communal conversation about the subject matter of these films since 1937. Carole’s film, “Witt’s Daughter”, represents a unique opportunity to bring representatives of the entertainment industry, military personnel and their families, veterans advocacy groups, and the community together to discuss the issues facing our troops who sacrifice so much for us and finding solutions to help them.”

Event Schedule

- 6:30 Doors open – Operation Gratitude letter writing to the troops drive
- 7:30 Music with slide show presentation of troops overseas
- 7:50 Presentation of Colors & National Anthem
- 7:55 Opening Comments – Lt. Col. Marcus Custer
- 8:00 Raffle & trailers for upcoming events
- 8:15 Comments from filmmaker, Carole Holliday
- 8:20 “Definition of Gratitude” video - 7 minutes
- 8:30 “Witt’s Daughter” - 50 minutes
- 9:20 Q & A with filmmaker, cast & crew of film, military service member & spouse, and veteran’s advocacy groups
- 10:00 Hansen’s Bakery reception (punch & cake)

For more information visit or

About Witt’s Daughter

“Witt’s Daughter” has recently been showcased at the following prestigious film festivals: Hollywood Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, Film Festival Favorites, GI Film Festival, and the Beverly Hills High Def Film Festival. Additionally, “Witt’s Daughter” recently won Best Narrative Short Film at the GI Film Festival. Ms Holliday is humbled and happy with the reception her first film has received. She muses she didn’t initially intend on making a war film. “I wanted to create a character piece about conflict between a stubborn father and his tiny headstrong daughter. The issue of war was context, but not the reason for making the film.”

Carole started the project at a time when the United States was well into the war in Iraq and read some of the stories of events there to get a feeling for her main character. “What the soldiers went through was touching. It gave me tremendous empathy for my flawed hero, so that even if he made stubborn choices, he was still sort of justifiable.”

About the Fine Arts Theatre
The Fine Arts Theatre is located in Beverly Hills, California. The theatre has a rich cinematic history, dating back to 1937. Fully restored with beautiful classic Hollywood appeal. The Fine Arts Theatre offers a wide selection of programming, from its Fangoria Midnite Madness Series, Family Matinees, to Film Festival Favorites.

The Fine Arts Theatre and the nearby 43 seat Wilshire Screening Room and Art Gallery, the Nation's highest ranked and most popular screening rooms are both available for rental. Rates start at $200 per hour. Featuring 35mm, Digital Cinema 2D and 3D, with 5.1 and 7.1 sound. Video formats from HDCAM-SR and D5 down through DVD.

The Fine Arts Theatre is located at 8556 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 (310) 360-0455.

About Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude seeks to lift morale and put smiles on faces by sending care packages addressed to individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed overseas. Operation Gratitude care packages contain food, hygiene products, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation, all wrapped with good wishes of love and support. Through Collection Drives, Letter Writing Campaigns and Donations of funds for shipping expenses, Operation Gratitude provides civilians anywhere in America a way to express their respect and appreciation to the men and women of the U.S. Military in an active, hands-on manner. Operation Gratitude is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, volunteer corporation, funded entirely by private donations. For safety and security, the assembling of all packages occurs at the Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, California. To learn more, please visit

About The Soldiers Project

A group of licensed mental health professionals who offer free psychological treatment to military service members (active duty, National Guard, Reserves and veterans) who have served or who expect to serve in OEF and/or OIF. We also provide treatment to members of their families and other loved ones. Treatment is conducted in our private offices. Our therapists are all volunteers and our services are entirely confidential. We do not report to any governmental agency. To learn more, please visit

About The National Veterans Foundation

To Serve the crisis management, information and referral needs of all U.S. Veterans and their families through: Management and operation of the nation’s only toll-free helpline for all veterans and their families. To learn more, please visit

Media Contacts
Lex McMahon
Tel. (310) 968-4733 Fax (310) 943-1668

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Lex McMahon

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