The Gardner Documentary Group

Produced and Directed by Janet Gardner
Cinematography by Kevin Cloutier


Click on images above to see slideshow.

Vietnam: Land of the Ascending Dragon was released in 1994, before the U.S. trade embargo was lifted, in an effort to put the "American War" in historical context and give American audiences a new look at Vietnam. We wanted to show Ho Chi Minh as the father of Vietnam, without the usual anti-communist propaganda that had marked American television narratives. And we hoped to accelerate the healing between veterans in both countries.

To most Americans, the names of cities in Vietnam are linked with battles. For example the city of Hue is often linked with the Tet offensive and Hanoi with the Hanoi Hilton prison and is perceived as the seat of communist power. Our objective was to show Hue as the old imperial capitol and Hanoi as the capitol and center of art and culture. The pace is slow because we wanted to show the traditional performer and listen to the lyrical music so that Westerners would become acquainted with the softer side of Vietnam and its struggle for independence. This was a pivotal point in Vietnam's history with the move to a market economy, yet still saddled with extreme poverty — partially as a result of the U.S. led embargo — and by a large government bureaucracy.
• Broadcast worldwide through licenses negotiated
by International Broadcast Network.

• Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation
• CINE Golden Eagle, 1994
• Bronze Apple from the National Educational Film & Video Festival, 1994.

Precious Cargo
Dancing Through Death
A World Beneath the War

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