DACA Productions will celebrate the U.S. premiere of its debut documentary film, “Soldiers’ Sanctuary,” Thursday, April 17, at Seattle Public Library in Seattle, Wash., at the Microsoft Auditorium, with guest subjects of the film in attendance including a southern Utah Vietnam War Veteran helicopter pilot of the infamous Khe Sanh Battlefield.
A touching film about combat veterans healing the wounds of war, “Soldiers’ Sanctuary” follows a diverse group of U.S. war veterans as they travel to the infamous battlefield at Khe Sanh, Vietnam in hopes of finding reconciliation with former enemies of war. Uniquely, the group includes young veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as Vietnam veterans. Among veterans featured in the film is Dave Hansen of southern Utah who was stationed at Khe Sanh.
At Khe Sanh, the group participates in an emotional meeting with veterans of the People’s Army of Vietnam. Together, the veteran soldiers participate in an incense ceremony to honor fallen friends, and then go to work side-by-side in planting avocado trees as a symbol of giving new life to peaceful relationships. This historic event is the foundation of the Khe Sanh Peace Garden, a world sanctuary dedicated to honoring the memory of fallen soldiers from all sides of armed conflict and providing opportunity for peaceful face-to-face reconciliation of former enemies.
A first-of-its-kind documentary film, “Soldiers’ Sanctuary” focuses on veterans of all wars and their struggle and varying degrees of desire to reconcile with former enemies. It provides a touching tale of how both sides of war benefit from making interpersonal connections by reaching across former enemy lines to find healing, understanding, and common ground.
“My hope is that this film will help many who are interested in moving through personal struggle by way of reconciliation within themselves and forgiveness towards their enemies,” filmmaker Luke Hansen said. “While the Khe Sanh Peace Garden project is helping veterans of war in a very moving way, this film really applies to all who are looking to find personal peace and reconciliation.”
In March 2014, Hansen returned to Vietnam with subjects from his film for its first official screening and world premiere. On March 24, at Hanoi, Hansen shared “Soldiers’ Sanctuary” with an audience including members of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations (VUFO), the Vietnam USA Society (VUS), and the Veterans Association of Vietnam (VAVN). On March 27, the film celebrated its world premiere at Khe Sanh, Vietnam, a former battlefield. Also in attendance were civic leaders, veterans and their families, along with Vietnamese musician, Tinh Mahoney, whose song “Goodbye to My Homeland,” is featured in the film.
Hansen said Seattle was selected for the film’s U.S. premiere because it is hometown to many participants of the 2012 Vietnam trip that is the subject of the documentary. Additionally, PeaceTrees VietNam is headquartered in Seattle – an organization providing significant support to the film and the Khe Sanh Peace Garden project.
Guests will have an opportunity to hear from the filmmaker and subjects of the film at a panel discussion immediately following the screening. Panelists will include the filmmaker’s father Dave Hansen (Vietnam veteran helicopter pilot), along with Michael Fragale (Gulf War veteran), Adam Tousley (Iraq War veteran), Aly McGregor, and Jerilyn Brusseau (PeaceTrees VietNam co-founder). The panel will be moderated by Kevin Espirito (Sr. Manager of Community Engagement at Microsoft Citizenship and Public Affairs) who traveled to Vietnam with Hansen and the veteran delegation, under the auspices of PeaceTrees VietNam in 2012.
“I was honored to join and witness this amazing event first hand,” said Espirito. “I consider the friends I made on this multi-generational veterans peace trip, American and Vietnamese, my friends for life.
For information about the film or the April 17 screening, go to soldierssanctuary.com or call the film’s representing agency, TCS Creative, at (435) 674-2856. To reserve seating, go to Eventbrite.com and search Soldiers’ Sancturary. More information about the Khe Sanh Peace Garden project can be found at khesanhgarden.org.
The Microsoft Auditorium is located inside the Seattle Public Library at 1000 Fourth Ave., Seattle, Wash. The film is 46 minutes in length and the screening will begin promptly at 7 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
|Dave Hansen of southern Utah plants avocado trees at the Khe Sanh Garden near the old battlefield runway with former enemies of war.|
|Iraq War Veteran Adam Tousley (red check shirt) plants with multi-generation war veterans in Vietnam.|
|Filmmaker Luke Hansen (center with camera) of Albany, New York in Vietnam with trip participants.|