The documentary film highlights Operation Smile’s historic 1989 medical mission when
the President sent the largest group of Americans into Vietnam
since the fall of Saigon as part of a MIA/POW initiative to return the remains of soldiers
Norfolk, Va. – Operation Smile is proud to announce the world premiere for “A Cure to War: Six Degrees of Humanity,” a documentary film narrated by actor Craig T. Nelson, known for his title role in TV’s “Coach” and is currently starring on NBC’s “Parenthood.” The film’s screening will be hosted by Veronica Schwartz at the Veronica Malibu Skin & Body Care Center in Malibu, Ca. on September 21. “A Cure to War” was directed and produced by Patrick Heaphy. Musicians David Palmer, Chuck Kentis and Tinh Mahoney provided an original score.
“A Cure to War” uniquely weaves the stories of seven individuals, whose independent efforts would help to rebuild relations between Vietnam and the United States, recover the remains of soldiers lost in the Vietnam War, and bring smiles to tens of thousands of Vietnamese children and their families by providing access to free surgical healthcare.
In 1989, President Ronald Reagan and General John Vessey sent the largest group of Americans into Vietnam since the fall of Saigon in 1975. They weren’t soldiers, but surgeons. An Operation Smile team of 38 medical professionals – including seven Vietnam War combat veterans – were part of a MIA/POW initiative to return the remains of soldiers lost during the Vietnam War. During the medical mission, they worked with Vietnamese surgeons to provide free reconstructive surgery for more than 100 Vietnamese children who suffered from clefts.
Bridging stories from both present-day Vietnam and historical accounts leading up to Operation Smile’s historic 1989 medical mission, “A Cure to War” reveals the emotional and political roller coaster of how a children's charity and its medical volunteers opened the doors to normalization when so many other efforts had failed.
The story is told through first-person accounts with General John W. Vessey and Frederick Downs, Chief Consultant for the Veterans Administration – Prosthetic Service, who worked directly with President Reagan and government officials in both the U.S. and Vietnam to realize this historic effort, and persevered amid hostile opposition and lack of funding. The volunteer surgeons share an emotional trek that allows them to heal the wounds of a previous generation.
At the premiere on September 21, a reception will begin at 7 p.m., followed by the screening at 8 p.m. and question-and-answer session with the filmmaker and film participants at 8:30 p.m. Media are invited to the screening.
For more information about Operation Smile’s global efforts, please visit www.operationsmile.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/operationsmile and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/operationsmile.
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