‘APACHE BLUES: Welcome home’: Vietnam War Vets tell their stories
“I’ve had some very interesting debates with the Chaplain about how to justify the existence of God and war in the same universe,” shares a voice of a Vietnam War veteran in the trailer for APACHE BLUES: Welcome Home, a documentary about some of the men from the 1st Squadron of the 9th Cavalry Regiment, the first Air Assault unit in history.
In the 18-month, 22,000-mile journey to sit down with the men of Alpha Troop 1/9 and listen to their stories, two filmmakers discovered that, while education about the Vietnam War is important, processing the war remains vital for the service members who came home from it.
Vietnam War veterans faced indifference and even hostility when they returned home from combat. The Vietnam War was unpopular in America, and the country took out its rage on the troops who fought in it — whether they volunteered or were drafted. They have spent the five decades since holding their stories and their memories inside. For many, this has wreaked havoc on their lives.
For some of the men in APACHE BLUES, this film was the first time in 47 years they had ever talked about their experiences. The therapeutic effect that these talks had on their lives has been undeniable.
WATCH THE TRAILER:
Dave Merlino and Dustin Sweet, the filmmakers who helmed APACHE BLUES in true indie-filmmaking fashion, arranged and conducted the interviews, provided the bulk of the funding themselves, and directed and edited the film to completion.
“It is our hope that this film will encourage more and more veterans to be willing to talk about their experiences and more and more friends and family members will be willing to listen. It is never too late to talk and it is never too late to tell a veteran, ‘Welcome home,’” shared the Merlino and Sweet.
In addition to their writing and directing work, the duo also hosts the Know Their Story podcast, which seeks to amplify the voices of veterans by having guests who were deployed and honorably or medically discharged from their service on to share their experiences. By giving a voice to veterans, they are able to find healing and community while educating others about the cost of war.
The film is set to make its world premiere at the prestigious Dances With Films Festival on July 2, 2023, at the Mann Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA.