"The story strikes me as one which can further the important agenda of humanizing for the American public the way ordinary Vietnamese experienced and endured the war...Thank you for your persistance in using your creative gifts to pursue reconciliation between the American and Vietnamese people."
Ann Martin, Secretary for East Asia, Mennonite Central Committee

Click on images above to see slideshow.

In 1965, the villagers of one district of North Vietnam found themselves on the frontlines of an increasingly brutal war. For these villagers, the war became a struggle for survival. They would choose a remarkable course of action. Rather than flee their ancestral village, they dug a series of tunnels and moved their entire communities underground. Through the personal stories of tunnelers, as well as one American P.O.W. held in the tunnels, we are transported into this subterranean world.


A World Beneath The War tells the little known story behind this network of tunnels that saved thousands of lives. By 1967 every aspect of life was lived in these protective catacombs: sleeping quarters, schools, medical facilities, a printing press, nurseries, storage areas, a guard station and theater. Rare footage shows three levels of a complex which extended for miles with 13 entrances where more than 2,000 inhabitants sought refuge. Audiences follow Pham Thanh Liem, an artist who spent his wartime years documenting life underground revisiting the tunnels with his son. He describes art he created on banners to mobilize people. "I did it as a soldier fighting," said Liem, "with all my heart."

Other tunnelers who speak out include a militia woman, a fisherman, and a doctor. The program contains a capsule history of the Vietnam War, known in Vietnam as "the American War." The narrative by award-winning journalist Marlene Sanders, provides a testimony to the strength and tenacity of ordinary people overcoming extraordinary circumstances and the price they paid for independence.

Screenings
• Broadcast on PBS stations in the US and worldwide by Discovery International

Awards & Honors
• Silver Apple, National Educational Film & Video Festival in 1997
• The Deadline Club Award, New York Chapter Society of Professional
Journalists for Best Television Feature Reporting
• National Emmy nomination for Outstanding Historical Programming
• Nominated for the Pare Lorentz Award
by the International Documentary Association in 1998.
• Emergency Librarian, a magazine for professional librarians, named it
in their best of the best issue, among the ten best documentaries of 1998.
 
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