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23/02/2005

APTN Library reveals new collection of Vietnam War footage

APTN Library has revealed a collection of Vietnam War footage, unseen for decades, that reveals new and unfamiliar aspects to this controversial and bloodstained chapter of Twentieth Century history.
Many familiar images of the Vietnam War were taken by foreign television news crews and US military cameramen. What makes a large part of the APTN collection different is that it presents a view of the war through Vietnamese eyes, with footage shot by local freelance cameramen based in Saigon.
In addition to coverage of US military operations in South Vietnam, we also see the soldiers of the South Vietnamese army - often poorly trained and badly led - engaged in a long and brutal struggle with the communist Viet Cong guerrillas. Behind the shifting lines of the conflict in the countryside, we witness street battles in Saigon fought between rival political and religious factions jockeying for power.
Another feature of this collection for a British audience is the involvement of Commonwealth forces in America's war in Vietnam - the arrival of the first Australian and New Zealand combat troops in South Vietnam during 1965 and the battles they fought with the Viet Cong in Phuoc Tuy province near Saigon for the next six years until their withdrawal in 1971.
Experienced archive researcher and producer James Barker was commissioned by APTN Library to sort through the film and identify as much as possible.
Barker said: "This is a great record of the war, a real treasure trove. It shows a view of the Vietnam war that is rarely seen and often forgotten. And watching it three decades later strongly brings home to me the parallels between the conflict in Vietnam and the one we are witnessing in Iraq today."
The footage, shot on 16mm film by UPITN news cameramen covering both the military conflict and political events, is now part of APTN Library.
But the original catalogue information is held by a third party and no longer accessible so the much of this collection and thousands of other films remain unseen in storage.
Christopher O'Hearn, Head of Content at APTN, said: "These films cover global history from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s - events that still resonate today. Not only Vietnam but the Middle East conflicts, decolonialisation and wars in Africa. I wish we could do more to preserve and make it available."
The newly revealed Vietnam material, along with existing footage of the Vietnam conflict and the era from APTN and ABC News, is available through APTN Library.
(GB)
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