A full-length documentary is also in the works for this story. Below is the treatment I have written to explain the film in as few words as possible.
Action Statement for this Video:
Making Peace with Vietnam
Purpose of Production:
My purpose is to share the message from inside the healing circle of Warrior’s Journey Home, a place where veterans in Tallmadge go to help eachother heal the wounds of war. This 40-50 minute film will serve as a more detailed version of the previously published story of the group including five combat vets who returned to Vietnam in 2011. This film will serve as a window into the deep and personal healing that is necessary for many veterans in their individual jouney to reconcile and make peace with the horrors of war. From the mouths of the men and their families we hear not only the truths of their service, but the true difficulty they are presented with upon returning to civilian life.
Five combat vets from Tallmadge, Ohio prepare for and take their second tour to Vietnam. Their mission: to put the past behind them. They belong to a group called ‘Warriors Journey Home’, and they’ll share with you the truth of war and the courage they gather to travel to Vietnam almost 40 years later. We will visit the places that haunt them and watch an unbelieveable brotherhood unfold with vietcong soldiers. We will hear the stories they share with three generations of Vietnamese, and witness the icredible spiritual bond that forms between them and the community of Tallmadge; who have been taught how to support those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Welcomed home properly this time, the men share an incredibly heartfelt story of love and loss – and the true cost of the war in Vietnam.
Style of Production:
Much of the footage I shot is from the point of view of a member of the circle. I became a part of the group, and my role went well beyond that of a photojournalist. The film from the trip to Vietnam is shaky, and not filmed on steadily-held cameras using only natural light on a DSLR, an HD Leica point and shoot, and a Flip camera. In Vietnam I captured prayer and ceremony, jokes and laughter, and a full range of emotion. This raw and sometimes gritty-feeling visual will be interspersed with shots of the beauty of the people and and their country aflourish once more. I’ll add clips from the emotional static interviews shot a month after the trip, photo montages, audio of poems being read, and the sounds of Vietnam. The scene at the circle in Tallmadge is dim and smoky from their Native American ritual of smudging. Their homes, and their participation in the community who have rediscovered the value of its veterans round out the story; told in auto-ethnographic style with me as the narrator.
My perspective is important; I’m a Canadian woman, who found this story seemingly by accident, and out of duty I followed my instinct to honor these men and tell their story-without knowing even how I would do it, knowing only that I would.