I have been making documentary films for almost 30 years.
My first personal documentary, called “Stuff” won awards at several film festivals.
In doing pre-production on “Ghost Money” the Việt Nam Studies Groups has been a great help in finding sources for information.
“Ghost Money” tells the story of my experience as a US Army soldier in Việt Namin 1972.
I served as an entertainment specialist working with Special Services, MACV, Sài Gòn.
I just returned from Sài Gòn after a two week shooting excursion funded by a fellowship from Portland, Oregon’s Regional Arts & Culture Council.
I combed the city, looking up old addresses and beginning a search for a woman, named Liên, with whom I had had a serious relationship.
“Ghost Money” will – I hope – explore some rarely discussed areas of the War, and indeed many wars:
The impact on the young, the militarization of women as “comfort women” serving American and South Vietnamese troops and the fragmentation of the family.
As I followed various leads to people who may have known Miss Liên, everyone, whether they knew her or not, was able to shed some light on her experience.
For instance, one lead sent me to Texas, where I talked to a Vietnamese/American woman who is looking for her American father.
Another feature of the production that may be of your interest, is that while in Việt Nam during the war I took dozens of rolls of super-8mm film, showing street scenes, aerials and people from Đà Nẵngto Cần Thơ.
I donated a high resolution copy of the film to the Việt Nam Film Institute, that country’s counterpart to the American Film Institute, preserving the film history of the Republic.
The 8mm film will be incorporated into the current film and will provide a stark contrast to the contemporary scene of modern Việt Nam.
I also visited the Hòa Bình Village, a medical clinic for child victims of agent orange.
This was an incredible experience. I was told that exposure to the chemical causes medical problems for four generations.
It is hoped that this feature-length film will open up a new dialogue on the effects of war, which go far beyond the destruction of life and property and into every area of social and personal life.
To find out more: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ghost-Money/483906081638808?fref=ts
My site is www.ljproductions.com
Please check out http://www.usaprojects.org/project/ghost_money
By LAWRENCE JOHNSON
Source: Việt Nam Studies Group