Shepherds of Helmand Wins Platinum Sponsors Award

Shepherds of Helmand Wins Platinum Sponsors Award
GI Film Festival presents high honors to powerful documentary.

Benchmade Knives
Benchmade Knives

OREGON CITY, Ore. –-(  Benchmade is proud to announce that the documentary film Shepherds of Helmand won the Platinum Sponsors Award at the GI Film Festival. The Platinum Sponsors Award is presented by the Military Channel.

“It is such an honor to be chosen out of several other influential films at the festival,” says Gary Mortensen, Director of Shepherds of Helmand. “It is truly rewarding to share the story of these brave soldiers and their sacrifices for our country.”

Shepherds of Helmand
Shepherds of Helmand

The Shepherds of Helmand tells the story of 17 Oregon National Guard soldiers deployed to Afghanistan to train a battalion of the Afghan National Army in 2008.

The film depicts their mission to conduct counter narcotics patrols in the deadly Helmand Province, a region notorious not only for its opium production but as a Taliban stronghold. Shepherds of Helmand is the true story of one of the most decorated units in Oregon National Guard history.

“We were very proud to support the making of the film and are thrilled to see all of awards and accolades” says Rob Morrison, Benchmade's Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning. “Gary did a phenomenal job of pulling the material together and sharing the story of these true American heroes.”

The GI Film Festival (GIFF) is a 501 c(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to sharing the military experience in and out of the arena of war. The GI Film Festival is the first film festival in the nation to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the service member through the medium of film. This year's event took place May 9th through 15th in Washington, DC. For more information on the GI Film Festival and other films, please visit:

In addition to the GI Film Festival, the Shepherds of Helmand has also been an official selection of the Riverside Film Festival, Capital City Film Festival, Sunscreen Film Festival, and was picked Best Documentary of the Queens World Film Festival.

To purchase a copy of the DVD of Shepherds of Helmand, please visit

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Katha Cato
Katha Cato

This film is so striking and so well made that we had no choice but to open our firs festival with it and to close the festival by awarding it best doc. The filmmaker, his eye, the stories he brought forth are all part of a film that should be seen by every American. We are so proud to be just a little part of this film's story. The filmmaker, Gary Mortensen is an exceptional human and his heart and abilities to listen shine through the film.