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My Father's Vietnam

A personal documentary about a public subject, My Father's Vietnam personifies the connections made and unmade by the Vietnam War. Featuring never-before-seen photographs and 8mm footage of the era, My Father's Vietnam is the story of three soldiers, only one of whom returned home alive. Interviews with the filmmaker’s Vietnam Veteran father, and the friends and family members of two men he served with who were killed there, give voice to individuals who continue to silently carry the psychological burdens of a war that ended over 40 years ago. My Father's Vietnam carries with it the potential to encourage audiences to broach the subjects of service and sacrifice with the veterans in their lives.

  • Soren Sorensen
  • Soren Sorensen
  • Soren Sorensen
  • Dan Akiba
    Director of Photography
  • Greg Conte
    Original Music
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    History, War, Vietnam
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 18 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 15, 2015
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Rhode Island International Film Festival
    Providence, RI
    August 6, 2015
    World Premiere
    Soldiers and Sacrifice GRAND PRIZE
  • Red Dirt International Film Festival
    Stillwater, OK
    October 9, 2015
    Oklahoma Premiere
    Best Documentary Nominee
  • FilmFest52
    Bethel, CT
    November 11, 2015
    Connecticut Premiere
  • New Haven International Film Festival
    New Haven, CT
    November 13, 2015
  • Flagler Film Festival
    Palm Coast, FL
    January 16, 2016
    Florida Premiere
Director Biography - Soren Sorensen

Soren Sorensen is an award-winning filmmaker specializing in nonfiction film, television, and web content with an emphasis on advocacy for nonprofit organizations. His clients include Families First RI, Montessori Community School of Rhode Island, Part of the Oath, and The Picture of Children’s Health. In 2013, Sorensen co-created, produced, directed, and edited Behind the Ribbon, a series of original documentaries featuring stories of breast cancer treatment and survivorship. A collaboration with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, Behind the Ribbon premiered on Rhode Island PBS in 2013. Sorensen's first animated short, Is Your Hair Made of Donuts?, was selected to appear in the 2014 Providence Children's Film Festival. That same year, Sorensen co-created, produced, directed, and edited Harvesting Rhode Island, a Rhode Island PBS series on the subject of local food and farming.

In 2015, Sorensen completed his first feature-length documentary, My Father’s Vietnam, which had its world premiere at the 2015 Rhode Island International Film Festival where it won the Soldiers and Sacrifice Grand Prize. The film was also selected to appear at the 2015 Red Dirt International Film Festival in Stillwater, Oklahoma; FilmFest52 in Bethel, Connecticut; and the New Haven International Film Festival in New Haven, Connecticut. My Father's Vietnam won Best Documentary Feature at the 2016 Flagler Film Festival in Palm Coast, Florida.

Sorensen is currently working on a documentary on the life and music of Cuban pianist and composer, Omar Sosa.

In addition to directing, producing, and editing, Sorensen is a composer of music for film and television. His work has appeared on Showtime, the History Channel, the Travel Channel, CNN International, Logo, and College Sports TV. Sinners (2014), a short film by Derek Dubois for which Sorensen produced the soundtrack, was selected for the 2015 Boston International Film Festival, the 2014 Massachusetts Independent Film Festival, and the 2014 Rhode Island International Film Festival.

Sorensen is a member of the adjunct faculty of the Film Studies program at Rhode Island College in Providence RI and the Screen Studies department at Clark University in Worcester, MA.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

My Father’s Vietnam is the culmination of several years of work. Production was a walkabout of sorts, spread out over five years. When we could afford it, Director of Photography Dan Akiba and I would travel from Brooklyn, NY to Arizona, Connecticut (where I was born and raised), Florida, Pennsylvania, or Vermont to ask total strangers about the most painful experiences of their lives.

In some shots I’m driving alone or walking with someone I’ve just met for the first time that day. In others I’m absent, the landscapes of places I’ve never visited passing me by for the first and possibly last time. In either case, the film’s depictions of physical movement—often to and from airports—will hopefully evoke visual elements commonly associated with “road movies.”

While certainly less rambunctious than Easy Rider (1969) and other films produced during the Vietnam War, My Father’s Vietnam aspires to evoke the same sense of urgency, disorder, and ambiguity. Deliberately relaxed and understated, My Father’s Vietnam contemplates the “ripple effects,” as my father puts it, of war in a broad sense and the Vietnam Era specifically.

In shooting and editing the film, it helped to visualize that ripple metaphor, those expanding concentric circles created when a pebble is thrown into a pool of calm water. Films made during and in the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War represent the sudden SPLASH! of the pebble’s impact, chaotic and disruptive. My Father’s Vietnam represents the quietly fading but ever-present outermost ripples of Vietnam’s impact, as the water continues to be troubled by fresh disturbances—Iraq and Afghanistan—the effects of which we have yet to fully grasp.

As the film’s director, having reached the end of postproduction, my task has shifted to putting the important subject matter and thematic material contained in my film in front of as many people as possible. The film's successes thus far represent not only the uniquely sensitive tone that the interview subjects strike, but also the readiness of audiences to reconsider their own assumptions about a famously fraught chapter of twentieth-century American history.