MOVIES2016 | 48 minutes
The Draft and the Vietnam Generation -- Recommended
MOVIES2016 | 48 minutes
How did thousands of young men defy being sent to Vietnam for a war they opposed? Beth Sanders' documentary examines their different paths--open refusal and prison, Conscientious Objector status, even joining the Coast Guard--and how this unprecedented resistance changed the political and moral history of the United States.
The recommendation of Seattle's weekly newspaper The Stranger (above) and an interview with Mike McCormick on KEXP yesterday morning helped sell out our screening at NW Film Forum's Local Sightings Film Festival. A lively discussion followed with audience members engaging Pete Knutson, Dan Gilman of Veterans for Peace, and myself. Local Sightings Festival Director Dan Hudson commented, "that was the best post-screening discussion I've seen in quite some time."
A little late in sharing the good times had by all at the first screening of The Draft and The Vietnam Generation. Dan and Amanda opened their amazing home to 70 or so folks---standing room only. Everyone enjoyed the wonderful food, drinkable wine and champagne, and popcorn served by Michael and Tracy's delightful girls.
Despite a funky sound track, the documentary was well received. Okay, the crowd was mostly folks old enough to have experienced the draft, but even the under 30 crowd gave it rave reviews. And not everyone was drunk...
After the fun was over, I approached a sound editor and colorist who were sufficiently moved by the project to slash their rates to help finish the documentary. And graphic artist Michael Ortlieb is volunteering his wizardry to the mix. I’m so relieved to have lined up the talent necessary to finish the documentary.
All I have to do is raise a little more money--$2,000--to get the film in the can. If you want to help out, please go to our donation page, http://www.thedraftproject.com/donate.html
Your support is much appreciated.
A recent New York Times's article Paying Respects, Pentagon Revives Vietnam, and War Over Truth describes peace activists response to the Pentagon $15 million effort to commemorate the Vietnam War with "historically accurate materials suitable for use in schools."
One of the reasons I'm making The Draft and the Vietnam Generation is to tell the history of the war from the perspective of those who opposed it---and I'm doing it for far less than $15 million!
As summer winds down, I figured it is a good time to share a rough-cut of a segment that I edited featuring Bruce Dancis and Mike Rotkin, the two draft resisters from Cornell University whom I recently interviewed in California.
I anticipate this segment will come near the end of the documentary. By that point the two troublemakers will already have explained why they were against the war and the draft. Since this is still rough-cut, there is no music, the photos are funky and there are no subtle transitions, but I hope you will find their story coherent.
Please share your thoughts about whether or not this clip works. Thanks!
P.S. If you are new to this site and wish to view the clip, please sign up for the email and I will send you the password.
If you watched my Kickstarter video, you may be curious to know what is Bill Fenimore's draft story. In this interview with Mike McCormick of KEXP, Bill reveals all.
Thanks to Mike for having us on his show, Mind Over Matter.
Here's the clip of Mike Rotkin story of a cross-dresser and FBI agents. Who intimidated whom? http://vimeo.com/99995825
Thanks to our terrific Kickstarter donors, we were able to travel to California to interview 2 troublemakers from Cornell University: Bruce Dancis and
Bruce was a leader of the draft resistance and spent 19 months in federal prison for tearing up his draft card. Check out his story at http://www.thedraftproject.com/their-stories.html
Mike was in the thick of it at Cornell and had a funny story about FBI agents and a cross-dresser. Who intimidated whom? Will post a clip soon!
Time to pop the cork and celebrate! Actually, I did that last night when I got the official word that the project was funded. I wish I could raise a glass with each of you who emailed, phoned, and persuaded friends and family to support the project. You did a tremendous job.
Special thanks to Michael Ortlieb who did the math and gave the amount that put us over the top. Way to go!
One thing I enjoyed about this campaign was hearing people's draft stories. One of the last donations to the campaign was from a woman whose dad spent time in federal prison for draft resistance when she was a child. As she says, "This is an issue that definitely affected our family. Thank you for wanting to document this important historical period."
With your support I can now get busy filming. Tomorrow I'm off to interview Bruce Dancis. More to come!
Yesterday I received this message from a new donor. I'm honored to have his support.
"I grew up Mennonite; my dad had been a conscientious objector during World War II. I actually would have been "drafted" into civilian service work. But a number of young men of similar background realized that while we had this option, most others with genuinely conscientious objections to the Vietnam War (like many of the folks posting here) had to choose among being sent there anyway, going to prison, leaving the country, and just hoping for a lucky draft number. There was a basic injustice in the draft system, and in any case any cooperation with it was cooperation in feeding people into the war. I sent my draft card back, didn't report for service when ordered to, and ended up spending 16 months in a federal prison in Kentucky.
I'm so glad that Beth Sanders is making this film. Our society has gotten hyper-militarized, although for most families the militarization remains more abstract than personal. Reminding people that there is a choice about what to believe and what to do is vitally important."
A donor to The Draft and The Vietnam Generation shared how his whole family was involved in draft resistance.
"The draft had a major impact on my life, I filed as a CO. I saw many of my elder sister's friends struggle with their impending inductions. My dad worked with them as a dedicated draft counsler, spending countless hours helping them sort out the options and obtaining conscientious objector status for most of them. This film brings in focus an important moment in history, my history."
David A Kositsky