August SummerDocs Selections Announced: ‘Last Days of Vietnam’ and ‘The Overnighters’

The final two selections for the 6th Annual SummerDocs series have been announced: Rory Kennedy‘s Last Days in Vietnam and The Overnighters, directed by Jesse Moss. Each screening will be followed by the respective filmmakers in conversation with series presenter Alec Baldwin.

“Rory Kennedy and Jesse Moss are both filmmakers whose work we’ve had the privilege of screening in the past,” said Artistic Director David Nugent, “and we’re delighted to present their latest work.” Both films premiered at Sundance, and both will screen at Guild Hall in East Hampton in advance of a U.S. theatrical release.


On August 16, Hamptons audiences are invited to see Rory Kennedy‘s Last Days in Vietnam, after which Baldwin will moderate a conversation with Kennedy and film subject Stuart Herrington. This riveting film takes an insider look at the tumultuous final days of the Vietnam War, when American forces undertook the heroic rescue of tens of thousands of South Vietnamese from a crumbling Saigon.

The final SummerDocs screening of 2014 will take place on August 29, when audiences can catch The Overnighters, directed by Jesse Moss, who will join Baldwin after the screening. This fascinating film explores the ramifications of the hydraulic fracturing boom in Williston, North Dakota. As the town recoils from the burdens of an unwanted population boom, one unique pastor struggles to live by the Christian tenet of “love thy neighbor.”

“From Kennedy’s moving chronicle of a pivotal moment in our country’s foreign policy to Jesse’s examination of some unexpected results of the new economy, both filmmakers are in top form,” said series presenter Alec Baldwin.


Last Days in Vietnam

Directed by Rory Kennedy
August 16 | 7:30 pm

Rory Kennedy’s Last Days in Vietnam explores the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War. The North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. The United States has only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country. As Communist victory becomes inevitable and the U.S. readies to withdraw, some Americans begin to consider the certain imprisonment and possible death of their South Vietnamese allies, co-workers, and friends. Meanwhile, the prospect of an official evacuation of South Vietnamese becomes terminally delayed by Congressional gridlock and the inexplicably optimistic U.S. Ambassador.

With the clock ticking and the city under fire, a number of heroic Americans take matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible. Last Days in Vietnam is a Rory Kennedy film for American Experience. It will open theatrically in New York on September 5, with a national rollout to follow.


The Overnighters

Directed by Jesse Moss
August 29 | 7:30 pm

In the tiny town of Williston, North Dakota tens of thousands of unemployed hopefuls show up with dreams of honest work and a big paycheck when hydraulic fracturing in that region unlocks a vast oil field in the nearby Bakken shale. Upon arrival, however, busloads of newcomers step into the sad reality of slim work prospects and nowhere to sleep – the town lacks the infrastructure to house even those who do find gainful employment. Over at Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke is Hell-bent on delivering the migrants some dignity. Night after night he converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center, opening the church’s doors to allow the “Overnighters” – as he calls them – to stay for a night, a week or sometimes even longer, sleeping on the floor, in the pews, and in their cars in the Church parking lot.

A modern-day “Grapes of Wrath,” The Overnighters engages and dramatizes a set of universal societal and economic themes: the promise and limits of re-invention, redemption and compassion, as well as the tension between the moral imperative to “love they neighbor” and the practice of one small community when confronted by a surging river of desperate, job-seeking strangers. The film premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Intuitive Filmmaking. The film will be released theatrically by Drafthouse Films in Fall 2014.

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We are delighted to announce that our 2014 SummerDocs Audience Award is sponsored by a new partner, Candescent Films. Candescent produces and finances social issue films that have the power to ignite conversation and create change. Candescent champions actors and filmmakers across a variety of disciplines who are committed to raising awareness through compelling character-driven stories. “SummerDocs is a terrific platform for filmmakers to share their documentaries and raise awareness for the subjects addressed in their films,” says Lilly Hartley, founder of Candescent Films. “I have attended since its inception, and am thrilled that Candescent is now involved in supporting this wonderful program.”

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Support for the SummerDocs series is generously provided by Beach Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and The Alec Baldwin Foundation.