TAMPA — Like most red carpet events, Thursday’s final night of the Gasparilla Film Festival was filled with glitz and glamor at the Tampa Theatre.
But for Nancy Pirelli and her family, the night was about remembering her son, Green Beret Staff Sergeant Rob Pirelli, who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2007.
“Everyone says he a hero… he’s my son and I love him dearly and I miss him,” said Mrs. Pirelli, one of the invited VIPs for the screening of “Danger Close,” which features her son.
The story follows war reporter Alex Quade as she’s embedded with Perelli’s Battalion over two tours in Iraq.
The unprecedented access with U.S. Special Operations Forces documents the real-life drama on the battlefield, ending with Quade’s own mission to honor a promise she makes to the fallen solder’s family.
“They’re the silent warriors. They don’t walk about what they do,” said “co-director David Salzberg of his mission to tell the stories of U.S. Special Operations Forces. “They don’t generally tell you anything about it unless they were with you or if they know you were there on their own.”
The night was especially emotional for the Pirellis, bracing to see the full film for the first time.
“It’s a hard one to watch. At the same time it’s good to watch and I know I need to do this,” said Mrs. Pirelli.
Rob’s sister Stacy says the movie is about more than honoring her brother.
“Its been 10 years since that knock on the door but to this day there are still families that are going through that very same thing. So we hope to be able to reach out, to help them get through their time because we’re here for them,” she said.
There was a packed house to screen the film for its world premiere here in Tampa. Those in the crowd gave the movie high marks for authenticity.
“It’s not every day you get to go and see the action that our service members go through every day, so it was really heart-wrenching and heartwarming,” said Amber Chadwell. “You can’t get more real than that, what we just saw.”
The movie went live Thursday on iTunes for pre-order and will be in select theaters Apr. 28th.
The producers say holding the film's world premiere in Tampa has significance with Special Operations Command just down the road at MacDill Air Force Base.
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