Marking the first time that a national PBS series has turned to crowdfunding, PBS’s acclaimed history series "American Experience" has launched the "First Days Story Project," an Indiegogo campaign to support community engagement and create additional digital content around "Last Days in Vietnam," the documentary from award-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy. The film opens theatrically September 2014 and will premiere in April 2015 on PBS. The Indiegogo goal is to raise $132,000 to capture and preserve stories of both Vietnamese immigrants and Vietnam War veterans.
The 40-day campaign launched on July 28 and concludes September 4. It aims to raise $132,000.
"Last Days in Vietnam" chronicles the story of the chaotic final hours in Saigon in April of 1975, as the North Vietnamese closed in on the city and thousands fled through a makeshift evacuation. Through the "First Days Story Project," American Experience plans to expand upon the storytelling in the film, answering one of the major questions it raises: What happened to those who fled?
With the funds raised on Indiegogo, American Experience will partner with StoryCorps, the nonprofit organization, to gather nearly 100 interviews in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, New York, and two additional cities to be announced at a later date. The audio stories shall then be showcased on the American Experience website and permanently archived in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
"Everything we are doing with this project is about community," said "American Experience" series manager Lauren Prestileo in a press statement. "From bringing people together around the film, to gathering additional stories that expand upon the content, this project will be driven by community interest and involvement. So it seemed natural to us to turn to the community as a source of funding to get the project off the ground."
Watch the campaign video below: