As part of ABC’s annual “Home for the Holidays” campaign and in support of Disney’s company-wide “Heroes Work Here” initiative, designed to hire, train and support returning veterans, ABC will honor our military veterans with several new elements this year by premiering five short films written, directed, and produced by U.S. Veterans highlighting the creative work from our military servicemen and women.
Five talented U.S. Veterans with aspirations to work in the entertainment industry were selected to create digital short films which will be thematically centered around U.S. Veterans coming home this holiday season. As part of the initiative, these five U.S. Veteran storytellers and their short films will be mentored throughout the creative process by experienced creative teams from some of ABC’s most successful series.
In addition to the five digital short films, “Home for the Holidays” will continue its tradition in welcoming our veterans’ home through holiday greetings from some of ABC’s biggest names. This year, the Grammy award-winning country-pop group, Lady Antebellum, will record a cover of “Celebrate Me Home,” which will be the official anthem of ABC’s “Home for the Holidays.”
The five “Home for the Holidays” digital short films and U.S. Veterans are:
Rebecca’s film tells the heartwarming story of a little girl who writes a letter to Santa. She is angry at Santa because every Christmas she doesn’t get what she asks for. This year, the only thing she wants is for her mother, who is deployed to Afghanistan, to come back home for Christmas.
Inspired by his relationship with his daughter, Donre’s heartwarming, emotional, scripted story celebrates the power of hope starring Tamala Jones (Castle).
A documentary short told from the filmmakers’ experience in Afghanistan, his time served in the Army, and how laughter brought his battalion together. SPC Wells’ documentary short shows firsthand the power of laughter under extreme conditions.
A touching story about a young soldier, severely injured in action, who’s determined to surprise the girl he loves with the dance they never had.
Donna’s film is the story of a young veteran who excitedly awaits the return of his best friend, the warrior and hero he served with. It’s an emotional reunion with a surprise ending when these best friends are reunited.
ABC Primetime Series will feature veterans in cameo roles and/or as part of storylines in upcoming episodes of Modern Family and Last Man Standing. The Neighbors is offering a verteran the opportunity to shadow one of their directors. Daytime’s General Hospital will incorporate a storyline featuring a U.S. Veteran in its upcoming episodes, while The View and The Chew will lend their support through various themed episodes throughout the holiday season.
ABC News is joining the initiative across all of their programming throughout November and December, including:
Good Morning America News Anchor Josh Elliott will have a special report about Captain Rebecca Murga, who wrote, directed and produced “The Letter” featured on ABC.com. Captain Murga is a documentary filmmaker who served with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Elliott recently traveled to Afghanistan for “Operation Homecoming,” a series of reports on military families, the impact of being separated for extended periods of time and amazing family reunions.
“Long Road Home” - ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz files a moving update on two soldiers, Tomas Young and Robert Miltenberger, who she has covered since the early days of the war in Iraq. While on a mission to rescue fellow soldiers pinned down in a war-torn neighborhood of Sadr City, Young was paralyzed by a sniper’s bullet. For the last 10 years he has struggled physically and emotionally. In this report, Young is reunited for the first time with Staff Sergeant Miltenberger, who won the Silver Star for saving the life of Young and five others on that fateful day in Sadr City. It airs on FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13 on Nightline (12:35 a.m., ET)and World News with Diane Sawyer (6:30 p.m., ET). In a highly-acclaimed and searing book released in 2008, Raddatz profiled a group of soldiers, including Young and Miltenberger, who fought, were wounded and died in the battle for Sadr City. The story was the topic of three Nightline reports, including a special edition of Nightline that detailed the battle in vivid detail.
“The Things They Carry” – Few can capture the breadth and truth of the experience of being on the front lines better than those who serve, and soldiers in Afghanistan have recorded an unprecedented amount of video with the cell phones and digital cameras they carry every day. Nightline has special footage from military men and women documenting their lives, service and sacrifice in Afghanistan, from moments on the battlefield and messages home, to the poignant thoughts and prayers honoring those who won’t be going home. The report airs on Nightline (12:35 a.m. ET).
“Second Tour” - ABC News Digital’s original series profiles military veterans pursuing unique ventures as civilians, including starting new businesses, leading grassroots organizations and launching a second career. For more “Second Tour” stories click here.
ABC Radio will distribute a special interview with Lady Antebellum and veterans’ holiday wishes to 1800 radio affiliates for use in local programming and highlight five documentary films made by veterans in the award-winning weekly magazine show “Perspective.” Listeners will be directed to ABC.com to view the films.
NewsOne, the network’s affiliate news service, will interview Lady Antebellum about their recording of the Kenny Loggins song, “Celebrate Me Home,” and distribute it to over 200 ABC stations and clients worldwide.
In addition, ABC News is launching a special “Producer for a Day” program for military veterans. Each ABC News program and platform will host servicemen and -women who will become part of their teams, from story development to the edit rooms, curating video, planning social media engagement and more. Veterans will have an opportunity to spend time with executives and reporters throughout ABC News and to learn more about how breaking news and enterprise reports are produced.
Support for the “Home For The Holidays” initiative was provided by the veteran organizations, Veterans in Film and Television (VFT), Got Your 6 and American Corporate Partners (ACP).