Rory Kennedy: Oscar Nominated For 'Last Days In Vietnam' Documentary

Rory Kennedy is nominated for an Academy Award for the documentary she produced and directed, titled ‘The Last Days In Vietnam.' in the film we hear accounts from those who were there, including one ship's commander who suddenly had some 2,000 south Vietnamese refugees on board.

Fun facts about Rory Kennedy (Source: Wikipedia)

Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy is an American documentary filmmaker. She is the youngest of the eleven children of U.S. Senator Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy.

In the 1990s, Rory and fellow Brown classmate Vanessa Vadim (daughter of Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda) formed May Day Media, a non-profit organization that specializes in the production and distribution of films with a social conscience, based in Washington, D.C. Kennedy's first documentary was Women of Substance. Released in 1994, the idea came out of a paper she wrote while a student at Brown on female addicts. In 1998 Kennedy and another fellow Brown graduate Liz Garbus founded Moxie Firecracker Films which specializes in documentaries that highlight pressing social issues. The television networks that have shown its films include: A&E, the UK'sChannel 4, Court TV, Discovery Channel, HBO, Lifetime, MTV, Oxygen, PBS, Sundance Channel, and TLC.

Kennedy directed and co-produced the Emmy Award-nominated series Pandemic: Facing AIDS (2003), which premiered at the International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain, on July 8, 2002; it was later broadcast as a five-part series on HBO in June 2003.

Kennedy directed and co-produced A Boy's Life (2004), the story of a young boy and his family in rural Mississippi. It premiered to rave reviews at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded the Best Documentary prize at the Woodstock Film Festival; it was later broadcast on HBO.

Kennedy directed and co-produced Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (2007) which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the 2007 Primetime Emmy Award for Best Documentary. Kennedy first learned of the Abu Ghraib prison when images came out in the media, which were accompanied by a New Yorker article by Seymour Hersh. According to Kennedy, she was "horrified and shocked and disgusted" by the images of the naked prisoners and laughing American soldiers. She conducted interviews with people who were present at the prison along with those directly involved in the abuse. Kennedy's opinion of the participants changed after she interviewed them, where she began feeling they "were very humane and very much like me" and discovered they "were not monsters."

On June 30, 2009, Kennedy was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Kennedy directed "The Fence (La Barda)" which premiered at the opening night of The Sundance Film Festival 2010. The film made its debut on HBO on September 16, 2010. Favorably received, it details the woeful inadequacies of the border fence between the United States and Mexico, which has increased migrants' deaths, but does not deter illegal immigration.

Kennedy's film Last Days in Vietnam debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014. During production of the film, she spoke with U.S. military and Vietnam nationals now in the U.S. and said the most exciting part of the film to her was "telling the untold stories about Americans and Vietnamese who were on the ground, who went against U.S. policy and risked their lives to save Vietnamese". Kennedy was reported to have signed with Nonfiction Unlimited in May 2014. In September 2014, Last Days in Vietnam opened at the Nuart Theater in Los Angeles. Kennedy had difficulty getting some of the people featured in her film to get involved. Out of them, she believed Henry Kissinger had the most reluctance to the project. On their reluctance, Kennedy stated: "I think a lot of those folks suffered post-traumatic stress from that moment. When I asked them to relive it, it really took a toll. Many of the people told me it took them a week to recover from the interviews. I've gotten tons of emails from people in Vietnam who can't see the film because it's too traumatic for them."

You can find ‘Last Days In Vietnam' on Amazon and iTunes now, then it will air on PBS in April.


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