FRIENDSHIP VILLAGE: A PLACE OF HEALING was produced in 2003 by Emmy award-winning director Bill Bacon. Its short length and classic educational style make it a perfect choice for presentations to service clubs, school groups, and the like. The theme of this touching documentary about the Vietnam Friendship Village Project is American veterans returning to Vietnam in search of reconciliation and healing. It includes a brief profile of project founder George Mizo and some basic history about the use of Agent Orange during the American war in Vietnam.
William W. “BILL” Bacon III has been making films since 1956. “I’ve been so fortunate,” he says. “My camera’s taken me all over the world.” Early in his career, he worked 20 years on nature films for Disney. He’s filmed all over Alaska-from Barrow, way out in the Aleutians, to way down in Ketchikan. In 2000 he received the Alaska Filmmakers Award. He’s done films in Tibet, China, and now Vietnam.
Alaskan Vietnam veterans including Michael Cull and Suel Jones approached Bill about doing a video on the Vietnam Friendship Village, and he agreed. In Fall 2001 he traveled to Vietnam and shot the village, the children, and some of the veterans that made it possible. By that time George Mizo had passed away, but Bill was able to include George’s wife Rosi and son Michael in the video.
Bill was deeply touched by what he saw at the Friendship Village-not only the effects of Agent Orange on Vietnamese families, but also the emotional involvement of the American veterans, some of whom have had similar problems in their own families from their exposure to the dioxin-laced defoliant used during the war. Although Bill felt some sadness, he also was taken by all the work that the veterans are doing and what the people in Vietnam are doing to help their people.
About Vietnam in general, Bill remarked, “Everywhere I went I was accepted. They smiled and bowed to me, and I thought that was really neat, after the war, that they still have caring for us and they recognize that there’s a friendship there.”
Individuals who make a donation of a certain amount to the Vietnam Friendship Village Project may request a DVD of FRIENDSHIP VILLAGE: A PLACE OF HEALING as a premium. For more information, please contact VFVP-USA by emailing info [at] vietnamfriendship [dot] org.
Bill Bacon’s Friendship Village documentary is now available for viewing on YouTube.