Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor--A Documentary of the Siege of Khe Sanh

Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor from Ken Rodgers on Vimeo.

From Christopher Beaver, Documentary Filmmaker, after viewing Bravo!

Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor is an important and deeply affecting film about the sacrifices and the courage of the Americans who fought in Vietnam. The emotional message of the film is as timely today as when the first American troops entered Vietnam.

After watching the film, I sat in a deep personal silence remembering the friends who returned from the war and those who did not. I wanted to express my gratitude to the men in the film for sharing what they went through, to say to each one of them that after hearing their words and seeing their faces I better understood what they endured then and what they still endure today, and that I hoped in the future that together we might find a better path to follow than more warfare.

To participate in the creation of this film is to honor those who served in Vietnam and to help heal the wounds that remain from the war that took so many lives and so deeply divided our country.

Final Cut Almost Complete

Team Bravo! has good news: Our final cut is nearly complete. Picture and sound editor John Nutt has worked his magic and created a masterpiece that reflects his lifelong devotion to film. Along with Ken and Betty Rodgers’ vision, John has taken the interviews, historical photographs, military film clips, and archived audio recordings, and pieced them together to tell the story of Bravo Company during the 77-day siege of Khe Sanh in the Vietnam War. The sound, the music, the creative use of material are all combined in a powerful and compelling way to show how these boys-turned-men performed, how they endured such a horrific experience, and how it altered their lives forever.

It’s about real people

In this film you will meet 15 men from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, including their company commander and two lieutenants. You’ll learn how the siege started, with Bravo Company surrounded and dramatically outnumbered by the enemy. You’ll hear historical tapes recorded in the field and music written and recorded during the war. You’ll find yourself transported back to the Sixties and learn the story behind many names on The Wall. You’ll see Vietnam Veterans in a new light.

We need your help

We would like to use materials that cost more money. At the siege were two incredible and well-known photographers whose work is available, but comes with a price tag. There is music that fits the story perfectly, but there are licensing and use fees. There is excellent CBS footage but they charge by the second. For all of this, we need $20,878. Your donation in any amount TODAY will help us purchase these rights and make this film the best it can be.

Our sites are set

We plan to complete our final cut in time to submit to film festivals beginning in August. That means we need funds to complete it NOW. Can you help us get there? This IndieGoGo campaign ends shortly.

From Ken Rodgers

Ten days after my 21st birthday in January 1968, the siege of Khe Sanh began. Except for officers and career NCOs, I was one of the oldest Marines trapped in that wet and isolated battleground. For the next seventy-seven days, my comrades—mostly teenagers—and I endured one of the longest and most ferocious sieges in the history of American warfare.

Six thousand Marines and supporting personnel were surrounded by elements of three crack North Vietnamese divisions. We could see them working in their trenches. Some days we took over 1200 rounds of incoming rocket and artillery fire, an average of one every 72 seconds. We lived in deep holes, like rats, with the rats. We went outside the wire and engaged in deadly firefights; intimate affairs, with satchel charges and bayonets. And we performed, survived and we triumphed. Though children, we triumphed.

Now, forty-three years later, my wife, Betty, and I are making a documentary film recording and celebrating that triumph, our survival, and our memories.

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