TADL & WCMU to host speaker and film preview: “The Vietnam War”

A Landmark Documentary Event by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

The Traverse Area District Library and WCMU Public Media will host a film preview of THE VIETNAM WAR, a landmark documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, on Wednesday, September 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the McGuire Community Room. The 90-minute event will occur at the TADL Main Library, 610 Woodmere Avenue in Traverse City. The evening includes a short presentation by Michael Schloff, a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps who served in Vietnam from 1970-1971, and followed by a preview of the PBS film series. Earlier in the day, WCMU staff will be on hand to record Vietnam vets or their family members reading letters sent home from the war.

THE VIETNAM WAR, a new 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick premieres on WCMU Public Television Sunday, Sept. 17 at 8:00 p.m. The first five episodes will air nightly from Sunday, Sept. 17, through Thursday, Sept. 21, and the final five episodes will air nightly from Sunday, Sept. 24, through Thursday, Sept. 28. Each episode will premiere at 8:00 p.m. with a repeat broadcast immediately following the premiere. An overnight broadcast of each episode will air at 4:00 a.m., Sept.18 – 22 and Sept. 25 – 29.

Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 9:00 p.m., the series will air again, one episode per week through Nov. 28.

The TADL screening will be accompanied by a public engagement project from WCMU Public Media, including film preview events; creation of the “Letters Home Wall,” a traveling exhibit of correspondence and photos sent home during the war; and, video and audio recordings of local Vietnam veterans and their families reading the correspondence for broadcast on public television and radio.

In an immersive narrative, Burns and Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. THE VIETNAM WAR features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses, including many Americans who fought in the war and others who opposed it, as well as Vietnamese combatants and civilians from both the winning and losing sides.

“The Vietnam War was a decade of agony that took the lives of more than 58,000 Americans,” Burns said. “Not since the Civil War have we as a country been so torn apart. There wasn’t an American alive then who wasn’t affected in some way — from those who fought and sacrificed in the war, to families of service members and POWs, to those who protested the war in open conflict with their government and fellow citizens. More than 40 years after it ended, and we are still arguing about why it went wrong, who was to blame and whether it was all worth it.”

“We are all searching for some meaning in this terrible tragedy. Ken and I have tried to shed new light on the war by looking at it from the bottom up, the top down and from all sides,” Novick said.

THE VIETNAM WAR features new, original music written and recorded by Academy Award-winning composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The film also features new music arranged and performed by Grammy Award-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble

The series also features more than 120 popular songs that define the era, including tracks from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Simon & Garfunkel, Janis Joplin, Ben E. King, Phil Ochs, Donovan, Johnny Cash and many more.


THE VIETNAM WAR is a production of Florentine Films and WETA, Washington, DC. Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Written by Geoffrey C. Ward. Produced by Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick and Ken Burns.