David James Elliott Emceed the Celebrating the International Warrior Spirit
at the GI Film Festival
May 8, 2013
Canadian Embassy, Washington DC
Click on thumbnails for larger images
David was a great emcee ~ only one complaint ... not long enough! After the Q&A we went to a
reception area and David spent the entire time taking pictures and speaking with the guests. He also gave a couple of interviews.
DJE: David James Elliott
BT: Brandon Troy, Interviewer
BT: Well, speaking of JAG, you know honestly, I'm sure in---during the course of that show, that there was, you know, a lot of research that you did with that, with your character on that show. Is there anything specifically out of that 10-year span that you've taken away from that show---from, you know, all the experiences that you had...?
DJE: I took a lot away from that show. You know, when I started the show, I had really no idea what life in the military was like. All I knew was from some of the Hollywood films I'd seen. And a lot of that was the military is misrepresented, you know, so much of the---certainly the day-to-day life. It was one of the things that the Navy was tenuous, at best in the beginning, about cooperating with us on JAG, was because they felt maligned, for lack of a better word, by their treatment in film and television. And, you know, we felt that part of---certainly our main objective was to entertain, but we also wanted to be as true to form as possible, as true and real for our members in the audience who had been or were in the military.
So that said, I guess, you know---let me tell you one of the---a thing that I carry with me all the time. When I was doing the research, I read the Blue Coat Manual and I read the Officer's Training Manual; and I don't know why this stuck in my mind, but it did, and I've taken it into my life. It said, 'It's not enough to present a problem, but you also have to present at least an idea of how to solve that problem, or you become part of that problem'. I remember that was in the Officer's Training Manual, and I've always taken that with me, you know. So---And that's something that I challenge our filmmakers with, you know. It's easy to point out where the problems are. Give us an idea---for you to find...
BT: On a scapegoat---yeah, it's very easy.
DJE: Give us an idea of what the solutions may be, you know?
BT: OK, alright, cool! Well, you know, you've been on GCB. You've been on, you know, a lot of series lately. What's the next project that you're, you know, working on currently? Are you, you know, working behind the camera as producer/director, or are you going to, you know, be back in front of the camera?
DJE: Well, I hope to do all of that. You know, I'm writing---I'm writing right now. I'm working on a documentary about the inner city in Los Angeles. My wife works with Pete Carroll on his foundation, A Better LA, and we're working on a documentary for that at the moment, about inner city violence, gang violence, and how to---how to fix that picture---gang intervention and creating safe zones for kids to travel through troubled areas, so they can make it back and forth to school. Because they, you know, they discovered that children in Los Angeles, in Watts, and those troubled areas in the inner city, had higher rates of PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder)...
DJE: ...than children living in Baghdad...
DJE: ...because they spent---you know, they had to cross active gang zones. You know, they had to go from red to blue areas to go to school. Or they would just---they'd spend all day sitting in a classroom concerned, not with what they were learning, but how they were going to get home...
BT: Wow! OK.
DJE: ...safe. So it's that---it's about---I'm really concentrating on giving back. I'm concentrating on my career certainly, you know, and I love to work. But I'm also looking for ways that I can be part of a solution to help make things better.
DJE: And that's another reason why I was, you know, thrilled to be a part of GIFF, because I think GIFF is an organization that is like-minded, you know? Let's make it a better place. Let's fix the stuff that's broken, make it a better world.
BT: Alright, awesome! Well, there you have it, Reel Filmers. Till next time.
Quote from David on the festival:
"I think it is terrific. It's terrific we have something like GIFF that helps to educate the public
and helps shed light on issues that are in our life everyday. For example on the show JAG, when it first started, it was during the
Clinton administration and they were downsizing the military and no one knew much about them (the military). Consequently,
one of the major hurdles that the show (JAG) had to overcome was educating the public and getting the public interested in the
military... Today that's no longer the case. I mean there are so many wars and conflicts happening all over the world... So I love
the fact that GIFF is bringing light to the topic of the military.
and here we are ... your humble correspondents.