Vt. Veterans Heard as Vietnam Program Comes to PBS

Communities / Sep. 7, 2017 9:05am EDT

“The Vietnam War,” a new 10- part, 18-hour documentary film series co-directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, will premiere September

17 on Vermont PBS.

Ten years in the making, the project is widely considered to be Burns’ most ambitious yet. The monumental look at this challenging piece of history features dozens of people at the epicenter of the country’s Vietnam experience, from veterans to journalists to protesters, along with voices from both South and North Vietnam.

“According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a third of Vermont’s vets served during Vietnam,” said Holly Groschner, president and CEO of Vermont PBS. “By bringing Vermont voices into the discussion around the film, we hope to bring this still difficult historical topic back to a community level.”

The first five episodes of The Vietnam War will air nightly at 8 p.m. from Sunday, Sept. 17, through Thursday, Sept. 21, and the final five episodes will air nightly from Sunday, Sept. 24, through Thursday, Sept. 28.

“Burns and Novick’s primary objective is to spark a national conversation about the meaning of Vietnam—a conversation they feel we’ve never really had,” said Vermont resident Mike Heaney, a consultant on the film.

Heaney, who has an on-screen appearance, served in the war as an infantry platoon leader, whose unit was ambushed and nearly annihilated. He has devoted much of his life to working with troubled veterans and memorializing the sacrifices of comrades.

Screenings, Discussions

To increase the relevance of this already important series to the Vermont audience, Vermont PBS will host screenings, each followed by a discussion led by a panel of experts on the topic.

Screenings are scheduled for locations around the state, including Friday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland. Attendance at these screenings is limited, and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, visit https://go.vermontpbs.org/VietnamFilm_ VTPBS.

To round out the series, Vermont PBS will broadcast locally made films that dovetail with this complex topic and provide additional depth as part of its Made Here series, “Peace Has No Borders,” directed by Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller of Burlington, on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 9:30 p.m.

“People’s War” will be shown on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 9:30 p.m. This documentary, directed by the Newsreel Collective, including filmmaker John Douglas of Burlington, filmed during the war and in North Vietnam and including footage from other Vietnamese sources, presents a unique view of the mobilization and participation of Vietnamese people committed to their country’s fight against colonialism and foreign military aggression. The film will be accompanied by an interview with Douglas discussing the motivation of the filmmakers.

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