Douglas Sloan’s Saigon ’68 Premieres at DOC NYC Festival

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Wed, 11/14/2012 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

Douglas Sloan’s latest effort Saigon ’68 premiered this week at the DOC NYC Festival. “One image had a radical effect on two peoples lives and was said to be the photo that stopped the Vietnam War ” Sloan says. “Eddie Adams said ‘photographs do lie’ after watching this film. I hope there will be a healthy debate about whether or not viewers   agree. We are excited to have finished this film in time for DOC NYC because the festivals' director Thom Powers is a true believer in the power and importance of the documentary art form  and I could think of no better place to premiere the work.” Saigon ‘68 explores the story underlying the most influential photograph to come out of the Vietnam War – the image of a South Vietnamese police officer shooting a Vietcong prisoner in the head – and how the picture transformed the lives of Eddie Adams who captured the moment on film and Nguyen Ngoc Loan the man who pulled the trigger. Through a series of on-camera interviews with some of Adams’ contemporaries – the film reveals the surprising back-story of the events leading up to the murder and follows the conflicted lives led by Adams and Loan both before and after the photo transformed world opinion. Featuring interviews with Walter Anderson Peter Arnett Hal Buell Bill Eppridge Richard Pyle James S. Robbins Morley Safer and Bob Schieffer and dramatic readings from the journals Adams kept while in Vietnam between 1966 and 1968 by actor Danny Burstein Saigon ‘68 opens a broader inquiry into our perception and societal understanding of the visual image. “Today everywhere in the world we receive visual information at light-speed and visual misinformation or misinterpretation can be dangerous ” Sloan says. “As a society are we visually illiterate? The film encourages us to ask the question and to learn the language of images as we go forward.” Saigon ‘68 is Sloan’s fifth theatrically released documentary and as a director he is widely known for films that aspire to a strong point of view and for achieving rare warmth and accessibility from challenging human subjects.   His short film Elliott Erwitt: I Bark At Dogs won Best Doc at the Aspen Shortsfest in 2011 as well as the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival in 2011 and Best Doc at NYC Shorts 2012. It was also an official selection at over fifteen festivals worldwide. In 2009 his film William Klein – Out of Necessity quickly became an official selection at numerous international film festivals and was broadcast on PBS’ channel WNET in New York City. The film is presently being used to promote Klein’s current show at the Tate Museum in London. His earlier film work includes Eleven Frames which explores the life of John G. Morris; and So There You Go a film profile of Annie Leibovitz.