Dr. Daniel Bernardi, it would seem, has made a habit of finding himself in unexpected situations.
Like in 2009, when Daniel, a Naval Reserve Officer was called up to help support the war in Iraq.
"There I was, a sailor in the middle of the Iraqi desert," Daniel recalled, "going on high-value target raids alongside Army Special Forces."
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One also might not expect that sailor to then come back from Iraq an immediately take over a job running one of the world's most well-respected cinema departments. But Daniel did that as well.
Daniel is Chair of San Francisco State's Cinema Department and Director of its Documentary Film Institute.
Still, even though he landed a great job upon his return to the States, the transition was not easy. "We all have struggles," Daniel said. "I had struggles. It wasn't an easy transition. I'm sure my wife would agree."
It was also during this time that Daniel began to realize the general public had become disconnected from its military, not understanding at all what their experiences were like overseas, or at home.
"It was surprising, when people would find out I am a vet," Daniel said, "I could tell they wouldn't know what to ask me."
"There was an awkwardness and an ignorance, a lack of knowledge of what it was like."
Daniel realized, though, he was in a unique position to do something about it.
The Veteran Documentary Corps is that something.
Working with professional filmmakers, school staff, and students, Daniel's goal with the VDC is to create high-quality, freely-available short films about the lives of veterans.
The VDC has already released half a dozen films with a similar number in some stage of production. Their goal, however, is to do at least 100 of these films.
Daniel believes that only a huge volume of stories (including veterans from all branches, multiple eras, and both sexes), can come close to telling the entire veteran experience.
Published at 10:09 PM PST on Nov 13, 2013