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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick come to Houston and show THE VIETNAM WAR

Filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick visit Houston for preview screening and discussion of their latest epic documentary, THE VIETNAM WAR

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I had a chance to attend a great talk and documentary preview last night at the University of Houston with award-wining documentary filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. It was hosted by Houston Public Media TV 8 which will air the duo's upcoming 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series, THE VIETNAM WAR, this Fall (also on PBS stations around the country).

As you might already know, because I have slowed way down on this blog because of it, I am putting together a documentary on Rock 101 KLOL. Burns and Novick's films have always been a great inspiration to me over the years. Just to show his filmmaking prowess, there is the "Ken Burns effect" in MAC editing software Final Cut Pro X!

Burns and Novick showed a series of clips from throughout the 18-hour documentary and then were interviewed by TV 8's Ernie Manouse. Just seeing the shortened clips last night put you inside the Vietnam War experience. It showed actual graphic war footage and the fighting's results.

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Tran Ngoc Toan, a South Vietnamese soldier who now lives in Houston, is featured in the documentary. He poses with his wife Kim Tran and Lynn Novick.
Burns says the Vietnam War and associated effects/emotions are something many Americans have tried to push away and forget about it. He made this film to help the country and world deal with it.

This documentary does not just cover the American side of the battle, but the North and South Vietnam side as well. Actual Việt Cộng soldiers are interviewed in the film. Burns also uses North Vietnamese film clips to help tell their side of the story.

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Here is the Houston Public Media press release explaining all the events relating to the upcoming PBS documentary and local coverage plus events.

The award-wining documentary filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick will be in Houston on April 26, 2017 for a preview screening and discussion of their latest project, THE VIETNAM WAR, a 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series set to air this fall on Houston Public Media TV 8 and PBS stations around the country.

Recognizing that Houston is home to one of the nation’s largest populations of military veterans and one of the largest Vietnamese communities, Houston Public Media is launching a yearlong series of Vietnam-focused programs and events to recognize its importance in our community. These efforts include special locally-produced TV 8 programs set to air in the fall as companions to the documentary, as well as News 88.7 news stories, discussions on the “Houston Matters” talk show and a comprehensive website with expanded digital content. In October, Houston Public Media is hosting “The Wall That Heals,” a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“We are thrilled to host Ken Burns and Lynn Novick at the University of Houston to promote their latest project,” said Lisa Trapani Shumate, associate vice president and general manager of Houston Public Media. “This is a wonderful opportunity for Houston audiences to hear directly from two acclaimed documentary filmmakers who have given us thought-provoking explorations of important chapters of our history such as the Civil War, the Roosevelt presidencies, jazz music and now, the Vietnam War. This documentary will have a powerful impact on many in our community who were affected by the Vietnam War, so we are excited for this chance to discuss the film with the directors.”

One of the special TV 8 programs set to air with THE VIETNAM WAR is a half-hour special with Lily Jang, the popular former news anchor and an active member of the Vietnamese-American community. Jang’s family was part of a wave of immigrants that came to the U.S. at the end of the Vietnam War, eventually making their way to Houston. The program will explore today’s Vietnamese culture and reveal some interesting Vietnam/Houston connections.

Jang and a team from Houston Public Media are currently in Saigon filming. Beginning today, Monday, March 6, you can follow the crew through a five-day, behind-the scenes video blog documenting the production trip to Vietnam online at You can also follow along on social media at #lilysvietnam.

A second program will bring together local Vietnam veterans, Vietnamese refugees and their families for a series of meals. The idea behind this special is to explore the nature of citizenship, assimilation and what it means to be an American. The third special will examine the history of the Vietnamese community in Houston.

Shumate added that Houston Public Media is planning other projects that will be announced later in the year. Organizations in the community are also planning special events that coincide with the initiative, including Inprint, one of Houston’s major literary arts nonprofit organizations, and Houston Grand Opera, with the third installment of their Veteran’s Songbook project and a production of Tom Cipullo’s acclaimed chamber opera “Glory Denied.”

Watch for more details about Houston Public Media’s special Vietnam initiative at

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