PBS Remembers the Vietnam War With Week of Special Programming
April Programming Block Highlighted by Rory Kennedy's LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM From AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Programs Build to Highly Anticipated 2017 Premiere of Ken Burns's and Lynn Novick's THE VIETNAM WAR (w.t.)
PASADENA, CA; January 19, 2015 - Today, during the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, PBS announced a slate of primetime specials related to the Vietnam War, and culminating in the 2017 premiere of Ken Burns's and Lynn Novick's THE VIETNAM WAR (w.t.). The specials, airing this April, offer new perspectives on the tumultuous era and the endurance of the United States military during one of the nation's longest wars.
LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE anchors the week of programming on Tuesday, April 28 at 9:00 p.m. ET, in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. The film, by award-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy, chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War. As the North Vietnamese closed in on Saigon, an unlikely group of heroes took matters into their own hands in order to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible. The film airs after the 8:00 p.m. ET premiere of THE DRAFT, a vivid, contemporary and probing look at the history of the military draft in America, including its turbulent Vietnam War peak and the searing stories of people who lived its realities. One day earlier, on Monday, April 27 at 9:00 p.m. ET, the premiere of THE DAY THE 60's DIED chronicles the nation's upheaval during May 1970, the month in which four students were shot dead at Kent State during an anti-war protest. The film marks the 45th anniversary of the tragedy. DICK CAVETT'S VIETNAM, which follows at 10:00 p.m. ET, is a look back at the thought-provoking conversations the legendary talk show host had about the war with a range of public figures including Muhammad Ali, Billy Graham and Henry Kissinger. THE VIETNAM WAR (2017), a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, is a multi-part documentary film series that sheds new light on the military, political, cultural, social, and human dimensions of the War.
"The Vietnam War and the 1960s were in many ways a turning point in our nation's history - there is much we can learn from the era," said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. "These documentaries give us an opportunity to analyze the impact of America's most controversial war, reflect on the progress we've made since and understand the lessons that will certainly affect our future."
The Vietnam War related programs include:
THE DAY THE 60's DIED - In May 1970, four students were shot dead at Kent State during an anti-war protest. The mayhem that followed has been called the most divisive moment in American history since the Civil War. From college campuses to the jungles of Cambodia to the Nixon White House, THE DAY THE 60's DIED takes us back into that turbulent spring 45 years ago. Monday, April 27, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET
DICK CAVETT'S VIETNAM - On the 40th anniversary of the official end of the Vietnam War, this show examines the war and its impact on America through the prism of interviews conducted by the iconic host of "The Dick Cavett Show," which featured thoughtful conversation and debate from all sides of the political spectrum. The program combines interviews from Cavett's shows with archival footage, network news broadcasts and audio/visual material from the National Archives to provide insight and perspective on this controversial chapter of American history. Monday, April 27, 10:00 -11:00 p.m. ET
THE DRAFT - Race, class, culture - the draft in the 1960s and 1970s was a lightning rod that lit up every schism in American society. But ending the draft has produced unintended consequences, creating a citizenry completely disconnected from that of the soldiers who experience the burden of endless wars. Featuring interviews with the people who fought the draft, supported it and lived its realities, THE DRAFT tells the story of how a single, controversial issue continues to define a nation. Part of PBS Stories of Service. Tuesday, April 28, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET.
AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: LAST DAYS IN VIETMAM - The latest film from award-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon. With the clock ticking and the city under fire, American officers on the ground faced a moral dilemma: follow official policy and evacuate U.S. citizens and their dependents only or ignore orders and save the men, women and children they had come to value and love in their years in Vietnam. At the risk of their careers and possible courts-martial, a handful of individuals took matters into their own hands. Engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations, they waged a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible. Part of PBS Stories of Service. Produced by WGBH Boston; station grants funded by CPB. Tuesday, April 28, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET.
THE VIETNAM WAR (w.t) - Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's series explores the history and meaning of the Vietnam War by focusing primarily on the human experience of the conflict, using the eyewitness testimonies of "ordinary" people - both American and Vietnamese - to paint a vivid picture of what it was like in the U.S. and Indochina. Part of PBS Stories of Service. Produced by Florentine Films; major funding provided by CPB. Premieres in 2017.
About PBS Stories of Service
As America's storyteller, PBS is bringing together multi-platform content and powerful conversations around U.S. military veterans under the banner of Stories of Service. The national programming content features compelling stories of those who have served and provides a deeper understanding of our nation's military history. Through public television on air and on PBS.org, PBS member stations will create their own local content and provide community resources for returning veterans and their families. The initiative will educate the civilian population about our military history and highlight the contributions from the veteran community. The Stories of Service initiative was announced in May 2014 along with a community engagement campaign for select PBS member stations and their local veterans and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), called Veterans Coming Home. The PBS programing under Stories of Service, many with funding support from CPB, includes, in 2014: COMING BACK WITH WES MOORE (May 13); NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT (May 25); DEATH AND THE CIVIL WAR: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE (May 26); D-DAY 360 (May 27); NOVA "D-Day's Sunken Secrets" (May 28); CRAFT IN AMERICA "Service" (November 2); MAKERS "Women in War" (November 4); in 2015: THE DRAFT (April 28); LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM (April 28); HOMEFRONT (May 2015); THIS OLD HOUSE HOMES FOR OUR TROOPS (various episodes from May 14-30); ON TWO FRONTS, LATINOS & VIETNAM (Fall 2015); and in 2017, Ken Burns's and Lynn Novick's THE VIETNAM WAR (w.t.).
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