Precious Cargo

The Gardner Documentary Group

Directed and Produced by Janet Gardner
Cinematography by Len McClure
Cinematography by Kevin Cloutier
Edited by Nicole Domenici
Produced in Association with ITVS
Distributed by National Geographic International

Born in South Vietnam, they were transported into American homes almost overnight in cities and suburbs across the nation. They soon became the beloved sons and daughters of close-knit American families. They were warmly embraced, they wanted to belong, yet they knew they were somehow different. Strangers stopped them and asked of their origins. In many cases, they were unable to answer. Some to this day do not know their father or mother's name. And it hurts.

This story reveals the complex story of the babylift in a one hour television documentary. It is the last chapter of a war that tore this country apart. Yet it is not quite over for more than 2,000 children airlifted from Vietnam in 1975 who were given love, education, but most importantly, a new beginning. For the military, it seemed like a final act of redemption. To the government in Hanoi, it was a propaganda ploy or a criminal act, tantamount to kidnapping. Other critics saw it as a last effort by the U.S. government to win sympathy and financial support for South Vietnam. But for most Americans, it was a final gesture in a war they wanted to forget.

A Story of Connecting and A Search for Answers....
Those least able to forget are the babies — now in their mid-20s to early 30s. Until recently, many of them also preferred to forget. In some cases, clues to their past will be revealed after years of speculation. Reunions and a trip to Vietnam 25 years later help them understand their history. In a story about connecting, we follow six of them on that journey.

Precious Cargo was produced in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Precious Cargo was broadcast on PBS stations in November 2001 for National Adoption Awareness Month, and was broadcast in territories outside the United States by National Geographic Channels.

• Winner of the CINE Golden Eagle Award, 2001
• CINE Special Jury Award, 2001
• Society of Professional Journalists, Sigma Delta Chi Award and Bronze Medallion for National Television Feature Reporting, 2001
• Deadline Club Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, 2001
• Winner of The Chris Award, Colombus International Film & Video Festival, 2001
Dancing Through Death
A World Beneath the War

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