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WSRE will host preview screening of “Last Days in Vietnam”

Posted by Mary Riker on

PENSACOLA, Fla., March 9, 2015—WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast, will present a special preview screening of the Academy Award nominated documentary “Last Days in Vietnam” on Tuesday, March 24 at 7 p.m. in the Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio. Admission is free.

“Last Days in Vietnam” will anchor a special week of PBS programming related to the Vietnam War beginning April 27. Directed by Rory Kennedy and airing in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, the film will premiere on PBS as an AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presentation on Tuesday, April 28 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on WSRE. Also, Kennedy is scheduled to speak as part of the WSRE Public Square Speakers Series on Tuesday, May 19.

“Last Days in Vietnam” chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon and South Vietnamese resistance crumbled. City after city and village after village fell to the North while the few U.S. diplomats and military operatives still in the country contemplated withdrawal. With the lives of thousands of South Vietnamese hanging in the balance, those in control faced an impossible choice––who would go and who would be left behind to face brutality, imprisonment or even death. 

With the clock ticking and the city under fire, American officers on the ground found themselves faced with a moral dilemma: whether to follow official policy and evacuate U.S. citizens and their dependents only, or to ignore their orders and save the Vietnamese men, women and children they had come to value and love in their years in Vietnam. At the risk of their careers and possible courts-martial, a handful of individuals took matters into their own hands. Engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations, they waged a desperate effort to evacuate as many South Vietnamese as possible.

In conjunction with this event and future projects documenting Vietnam War memories, including a locally produced documentary and a PBS documentary film series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick to be released in 2016, WSRE is inviting Vietnamese Americans, veterans and their families to share their experiences. Stories can be submitted online at wsre.org/vietnamstories and will be made available to the public, pending station approval.

The “Last Days in Vietnam” preview screening is open to the public, free of charge; however, registration is encouraged at wsre.org/lastdays.

About Rory Kennedy (Director/Producer):
Rory Kennedy (Director/Producer) is an Emmy Award-winning independent documentary filmmaker as well as co-founder and president of Moxie Firecracker Films. (“Last Days in Vietnam” is a Moxie Firecracker Production for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.) Her films cover an array of issues ranging from poverty to politics to human rights. Her work has been shown on PBS, HBO, A&E, MTV and Lifetime. Her project, Ethel, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, was broadcast on HBO and nominated for five Primetime Emmys. Kennedy has directed and produced more than 25 documentaries including “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib” (Primetime Emmy Award for Best Non-Fiction Film, 2007); “Thank You, Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House;” “American Hollow;” “A Boy’s Life;” and “Pandemic: Facing AIDS.” Kennedy will be speaking in Pensacola at the WSRE Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio on Tuesday, May 19 as part of the WSRE Public Square Speakers Series (wsre.org/speakers).

About AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Television’s most-watched history series, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013. The series has been hailed as “peerless” (The Wall Street Journal), “the most consistently enriching program on television” (Chicago Tribune), and “a beacon of intelligence and purpose” (Houston Chronicle). On air and online, the series brings to life the incredible characters and epic stories that have shaped America’s past and present. Acclaimed by viewers and critics alike, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE documentaries have been honored with every major broadcast award, including 30 Emmy Awards, four duPont-Columbia Awards, and sixteen George Foster Peabody Awards, one most recently for the series represented by Freedom Riders, Triangle Fire, and Stonewall Uprising. 

Media Relations Contact:
Mary Riker
(850) 484-1211
mriker@wsre.org