Veteran Documentary Corps

Veteran Documentary Corps receives grant from Veteran’s Administration to make ten films

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

The Veterans Legacy Program (VLP) 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 Veteran Administration's National Cemeteries and Veteran Administration grant funded cemeteries.

The VLP grant is for $487,674.00. 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."

Among the films that will be made are 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 6888 during WWII (U.S. Army), a Buffalo Soldier (U.S. Calvary), and a Native American leader (U.S. Army).

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 non-profit 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.


Veteran Documentary Corps

Veterans Legacy Program

Faculty-Student History Team to Create Graphic Novel Exploring First Black Marines


San Francisco State University Professor Trevor Getz will again bring an overlooked piece of history to light through a nonfiction comic book. Created with History undergraduate Robert Willis, the “The Montford Point Marine Project” will tell the stories of the first Black U.S. Marines, who served in World War II. The story is based on new oral histories of their experiences. It will be published by Oxford University Press in 2024.

Aimed at a high school and undergraduate audience, “The Montford Point Marine Project” will foreground the meaning and lessons the veterans themselves draw from their service and experiences. In a unique design, the book will include digital resources linking readers to interviews with Montford Point Marine veterans. These interviews are possible thanks to a contribution from The Boeing Co., and will be filmed in December by a team led by Cinema Professor Daniel Bernardi and San Francisco State alumnus Jesse Sutterley. Members of the National Montford Point Marine Association will also help direct the writing and design of the graphic novel.

In 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt outlawed racial discrimination in war industries, allowing Black men and women to serve in a segregated fashion. The Marines recruited Black men and sent them to Jacksonville, N.C., at Camp Montford Point, where about 20,000 African Americans trained between 1942 and 1949. The Montford Point Marines, as they came to be known, remain active in public service, support for their veterans and preservation of their legacy.

“The Montford Point Marine Project” is the follow-up to Getz’s award-winning “Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History” (Oxford University Press, 2011). That book depicts the life and trial of Abina Mansah, a woman living in 19th-century colonial West Africa who escapes slavery and takes her former master to court. Like “Abina,” the new book is designed to be a guide to historical research, in this case focusing on community-based oral history methods.

The team bringing this story to life includes Getzand Willis along with Montford Point Marine historian Gunnery Sgt. Joe Geeter III and artist Liz Clarke. “Through the life stories of the Montford Point Marines, we hope to train and inspire teachers and students to collect, interpret and value the memories, experiences and wisdoms of earlier generations,” Getz said. “The Montford Point Marine Project” has also received funding through the Marcus Undergraduate Research Assistantship Grant.