PBS strand ‘American Experience’ is to release Rory Kennedy’s history doc Last Days in Vietnam (pictured) theatrically in the U.S. in September, ahead of its TV premiere.
The news comes as the documentary – which features a wealth of archival footage and soldier testimony, and had its world premiere at Sundance in January – was recently named as the opening night film for the Sarasota Film Festival, which kicks off on April 4.
The theatrical release is something of a rarity for the TV strand, as American Experience Films’s exec producer Mark Samels explains: “Every so often we commission a film with such emotional gravity and contemporary resonance that we feel it deserves a broad theatrical release.
“As we approach the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, and at a time when we as a nation again evaluate what is owed to those left behind when a war ends, Last Days in Vietnam tells a story that is inspiring, cautionary, and remarkably relevant.”
The film will open in New York on September 5. Throughout September and early October, it will premiere in the top 10 markets, including Los Angeles, Washington DC, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and San Diego. A broader national release will follow, according to American Experience Films.
The film is produced and directed by Kennedy (Ethel, The Fence, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib), written by Mark Bailey and Keven McAlester; and edited by Don Kleszy.