American Experience: Two Days in October (PBS)
2005 | Robert Kenner Films, WGBH Educational Foundation, Wisconsin Public Television, Playtone, and BBC
Inspired by the book They Marched into Sunlight by David Maraniss, Two Days in October brings the Vietnam War in all its heartbreak back to our living rooms. The American Experience documentary, executive produced by Mark Samels and Robert Kenner, directed by Kenner and scripted by Allen Rucker, juxtaposes concurrent events thousands of miles apart in October 1967. Even as a jungle ambush by Viet Cong was inflicting casualties on an American battalion so heavy that some politicians and military strategists began to question whether the war was winnable, a student demonstration in Wisconsin turned violent, marking the beginning of a new, polarizing phase in the anti-war movement. To tell the parallel stories, Kenner blends archival film from the warring sides with footage newly shot by cinematographer Buddy Squires and interviews with American and Vietnamese soldiers, relatives of men killed in the battle, students, police officers, and university officials. For gleaning new insights from a period of history whose repercussions are still being felt, Two Days in October receives a Peabody.