Yesterday I said I'll start answering frequently asked questions as an FAQ series based on experiences I've had and what people typically ask me about the project. (Related blog post available here.) Often I am asked how and why I chose to do a film about the Montagnard people, US Special Forces, and the Vietnam War.
Surry, a friend of mine who served two tours in Vietnam, mentioned a personal project he was working on over dinner one night. Anyone who knows Surry also knows that he usually has a few projects going--and they're always interesting.
We talked about his project. He wanted to capture oral history related to the Vietnam War, recognizing that such opportunities may not be available much longer. The more he talked, the more interested I became.
I realized how little I knew.
There were only two things I could recall about the Vietnam War: it lasted a long time and soldiers who served weren't welcomed home like they were after World War II. I knew even about the U.S. Special Forces and the Montagnard people.
Oh, and I had never made a film. So when I say I was ignorant, I mean really ignorant.
The ignorance made me curious, though. Because I didn't know much, I wanted to know more. The subject matter presented itself when Surry and I chatted that night in 2008.
I told Surry that he should make it into a film, because more people needed to know about these things. It was important to our nation's history, but wasn't common knowledge. It seemed important.
Surry asked me if I wanted to make the film. I said yes.
And that's how Abandoned Allies began.