Rory Kennedy, who conducted an outstanding lecture in Pearce Auditorium and met with students during to discuss the art of documentary film-making, earlier this week received a nomination for an Academy Award for her film about the fall of Saigon in the last days of the Vietnam War.
Kennedy, the youngest daughter of the former U.S. senator and U.S. attorney general Robert Kennedy, appeared in Gainesville in 2008 courtesy of the late E. Wycliffe “Wyc” Orr Sr., who died last year, and his wife Lyn Harden Orr of Gainesville. The Orrs established the Aileen Grace and Emogene Gaskins Women’s Studies Endowment at Brenau in honor of their mothers to bring prominent or up-and-coming female speakers to campus.
Kennedy’s film, Last Days in Vietnam, received an Oscar nomination for best documentary film. The documentary focuses on Saigon in the waning days of April 1975, when U.S. officials began a final evacuation as North Vietnamese troops barreled southward. The film uses never- seen-before footage that Kennedy wove with familiar images and new footage to create a complex, compelling chronicle of those last chaotic hours of April 29.
Kennedy called the Vietnam War “the ether of my childhood” in a Boston Globe interview when the film opened late last year. Her uncle, President John Kennedy, gets some of the blame for initiating and escalating U.S. military involvement in Southeast Asia in the early 1960s, but her father was the leading ant-war candidate in the 1968 presidential campaign before he was assassinated that year.