Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tonight on PBS

Photo from PBS.org
Another one of my Full Frame Film Fest favorites will be broadcast on PBS tonight.  The film is titled The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.  Check here for your local listings: http://www.pbs.org/pov/tvschedule/.

The film was a delight to watch at the festival this past April, and I hope you'll watch it tonight.  Here's the synopsis listed on the PBS website:


In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a leading Vietnam War strategist, concludes that America’s role in the war is based on decades of lies. He leaks 7,000 pages of top-secret documents to The New York Times, a daring act of conscience that leads directly to Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation and the end of the Vietnam War. Ellsberg and a who’s-who of Vietnam-era movers and shakers give a riveting account of those world-changing events in POV’s The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers by award-winning filmmakers Judith Ehrlich (The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It) and Rick Goldsmith (Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press). A co-production of ITVS in association with American Documentary/POV. (90 minutes)

There are many aspects to the Vietnam War.  Too many, in fact, for us to delve too deeply into much outside of the narrow scope of our film.  We explore the relationship between the U.S. Special Forces and loyal American allies known as the Montagnards.  Watching The Most Dangerous Man is a great way to learn a bit more about the era and history of the war.  But don't stop learning, there.

I encourage everyone to seek the truth, not just digest what is presented by one entity.  Learn to seek the truth independently.  Knowledge is appreciated more when earned in such a way, and helps you draw your own conclusions and make more informed decisions.

After you watch the film tonight, be sure to tell us what you think of it!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Roller Coaster of Filmmaking

This is going to be a good week.  I know it.

Last week was a tough one.  I struggled a lot, which is not something I usually admit publicly.  We're human, though, and the struggle is part of the story.  I feel like these struggles I have are so minor, and that it's poor form to admit that you're struggling instead of just shutting up and carrying on.  Keep a stiff upper lip, you know?  Whining about stuff rarely changes your situation.

While last week was a tough one in some regards, it was also really fun.  I got to see friends, enjoyed some delightful improv, watched Restrepo, and even spent the day at Kings Dominion with people I adore.  Saturday was especially therapeutic.

At Kings Dominion, we rode roller coasters all day.

At Kings Dominion, we rode roller coasters all day!  I love roller coasters!  The thrill, nervousness, and terror that comes with riding a roller coaster is relatively insane when you think about it.  Why are we intoxicated by such safe and scary adventures?  I'm probably addicted to the adrenaline rush. 

It's one of the things mentioned in Restrepo, actually.  One of the guys says something like, "Once you've been shot at, there's no high like it."  Now, I've never had anyone shoot at me (thankfully), but this year has taught me a bit about the psyche of a soldier returning from combat.  I can't fully understand it, but I can empathize with it. 

Our cast members talked about it a lot, both on camera and in the books they published.  A soldier's priorities--during combat--is the mission at hand, protecting your fellow soldiers, and keeping yourself alive so you can come home safely. 

The intensity of being in combat becomes standard.  The heightened awareness, intense danger, and consistent adrenaline rush becomes the way of life.  The peace of being at home presents few things close to the intensity of combat (even though they're grateful to have arrived home safely).  I think that's a bit of what Hurt Locker explored, too.  Soldiers start to feel like they're better at being in combat than being home.

There are so many tangential things like this that I feel compelled to explore, but our film isn't about that specifically.  It's about the U.S. Special Forces soldiers and their relationship to the Montagnard people, and how all of that relates to today. 

There are so many extras that we could include on a DVD.  I look forward to finishing the film and, hopefully, still sharing those extras because they are important parts of diving deeper into this story.  First things first, though.  Finishing the film.  Speaking of which...I've got work to do.  Talk atcha later, friends.