Archive for New Films
On October 3rd, 2014, my children and I went to the Michigan Theater to watch Last Days In Vietnam, a film directed by Rory Kennedy, who is the youngest daughter of Robert Kennedy. This documentary meticulously covers the stressful events that led to the 1975 evacuation of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Through never before seen footage of intense interviews with U.S. servicemen and Vietnamese civilians, Ms. Kennedy brings their story to life with unprecedented detail.
Binh attended a screening of Last Days in Vietnam in the fall of 2014. After seeing herself and her family in the documentary, she contacted American Experience to share her story. She asked that we only use her first name for this post.
American Experience announced today that its production Last Days in Vietnam, directed and produced by Rory Kennedy, has been nominated for the Academy Award® for Documentary Feature. This is Ms. Kennedy’s first Academy Award® nomination, and the ninth for the series.
Bunny Sanders is the Mayor of Roper, North Carolina. Her father, E.V. Wilkins was a prominent black leader in Eastern North Carolina and was Roper’s first black mayor in 1967. In her interview for the film, Klansville U.S.A., Mayor Sanders states, "We had the NAACP. They had the Klan." We asked her to elaborate on this and explain how the two very different groups found their own outlets to ensure they were heard in North Carolina during the 1960s.
It took me a couple viewings of "Last Days in Vietnam" before I could fully comprehend its central message: the human cost of war. As a 1.5 generation Vietnamese American, I grew up with the Vietnam War as a constant topic of conversation in my home, amplified by the fact that I am essentially a byproduct of that conflict that has left such a strong imprint on American history. My father was a lieutenant who fought in the South Vietnamese army for a democratic Vietnam alongside American soldiers. When the war ended, he tried to escape Vietnam but was eventually imprisoned in an internment/re-education camp for eight years before making his way to the United States with my family in 1992 as part of the Humanitarian Operations (HO) Program.
With his syndicated weekly feature, Believe It or Not!, his radio and television shows and Odditoriums, those dim-lit exhibition halls of the bizarre, grotesque and weird, Robert Leroy Ripley was easily the most popular American icon of the twentieth century.
In January and February, 2015, American Experience is premiering five new documentaries. "More than ever before," said Executive Producer Mark Samels, "this season's films reflect on times when American was dealing with many of the iddues that we find ourselves facing today - murky wars with no simple way out, institutionalized racism, and terrifying contagions that arouse public panic and fear." Watch this synopsis with Mark's commentary.