The horrors of war never die. The story emerging is not one on the War itself but on the horrors these men and women now face at home. Their story is of the war after the war, rejection, disenchantment, death, nightmares and resiliency. More than 40 years have passed since the official end of the Vietnam War. For years, many veterans of this war refused to talk about their experience. Now, however, as many begin to die out, four Vets that belong to the New Jersey Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial have decided to share their stories for the first time.
Director Biography – Tom Phillips
“Vietnam Aftermath” wins its third Award “Best Short Documentary” in the Independent Shorts Festival in LA. “Vietnam Aftermath” also won “Best Short Documentary” and “Best Inspirational Film” competing with hundreds of submissions with Emmy winning and Oscar Nominated directors in the Olympus Film Festival in LA.
Working mostly in television I’ve developed, written, shot and produced 78 hours of television programming for The History Channel, Discovery, Nat Geo, Outdoor Channel, Smithsonian, BBC, BBC Worldwide, Comedy Central and PBS. My main responsibility is to create story elements that will engage the audience and maintain high ratings.
Last year I produced for “Moonshiner’s” and “Masters of Arms” both for the Discovery Channel. Last year I worked on “Forged in Fire” for the History Channel and for “Hidden History” a new series for the Smithsonian Channel to be released in 2019.
Over two years ago while producing a television series I started to interview Veterans on the War in Vietnam. During the shoot I became very close to two of the Vets I spoke with.
Later on, the NJ Vietnam Veterans Memorial in New Jersey offered to pay me to interview all their Veterans.
My father served, I did not so it didn’t feel right taking money from them. Instead I offered to donate my time and gear and I would see what if anything I could do to get their story’s out to the public.
Over a year ago I started editing this and just didn’t think it was working. Then after being caught up on much needed paying gigs I went back to the footage and tried again editing a 34-minute documentary.
I included visits to the homes of four Veterans, to get a no holds barred view on what it’s like to live with the darker memories of War and the continuing horror of the effects of “Agent Orange” on their families.
Anyone that’s been in production knows whenever you do a program this way, with no plan, no real budget, no script, it will always only be what it is. So, what is it? Documentary or Experimental?
There is no added narration. I didn’t want to risk any interpretation on my part. I wanted viewers to hear these stories from the Veterans themselves. The open is very nontraditional and wrong by current Television Network formats.
Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t. However, the stories of these four brave men are intact and told in “their own words”. They shared things with me that they never told anyone.
This documentary is not about the past but a grim warning for the future.