'Shakey's Hill', Produced by Cinematographer and Veteran Newsman Norman Lloyd, Awarded Best Documentary Short Film at G.I. Film Festival
2007 a Blockbuster for Veteran Newsman Filmaker
by Susan DeVico
Veteran newsman Norman Lloyd's film 'Shakey's Hill' was honored with the Best Documentary Short award at the G.I. Film Festival, held in Washington, DC over the Memorial Day Weekend.
In 'Shakey's Hill', producer, director and cinematographer Lloyd captures the harsh realities of the Vietnam War firsthand, from the soldiers' perspective – following them in the field as they're preparing for battle and documenting them as they engage in combat. The film later revisits many of the same surviving soldiers, more than three decades after the end of the war.
In 1970, a solo cameraman, the veteran CBS Newsman Norman Lloyd, followed the U.S. Army's 5th Battalion 7th Calvary Regiment into the jungles of Cambodia. The soldiers' mission was to seek out substantial weapons and supplies caches being used by the North Vietnamese Army. As the battalion closed in on the location of the caches, they encountered a growing resistance from the North Vietnamese forces. Surreal footage and intimate interviews take audiences through each firefight leading up to the operation's climax, which became infamously known as the taking of “Shakey's Hill.” The hill was named after the battalion's youngest soldier, who lost his life when he discovered the first cache. The military considers the discovery of these massive weapons caches one of the most successful operations by U.S forces during the Vietnam War.
The film catches up -some 35 years later- with many of the mission's surviving soldiers. The men provide in depth retrospectives about the Vietnam War from the soldiers' point of view. In both 1970, and then again, decades later, they reflect upon their war time experiences -and discuss not only the events leading up to this mission- but also the effects of the Vietnam War on their lives.
“Norman Lloyd's documentary on the 5th Battalion 7th Cavalry Regiment in Vietnam is a masterpiece, one of those films that haunt you for weeks and weeks. Rarely has a movie-maker reached this deep into the soul, the fear, the love-of-friend that emerge from the terrors of battle. Lloyd was there with the troops taking a hill in Cambodia, and there again many years later when they held a reunion and found that the ties they had formed back then had never broken. The emotions were raw, and honest.A shining triumph of a movie.”-Lesley Stahl, 60 Minutes Correspondent
“This documentary is the most authentic, ungussied-up, riveting depiction one could imagine of what soldiers endure in actual combat and how they bond to overcome their fears and stay alive. Every American should see it. By filming alongside a unit in Cambodia's jungle in 1970, Norman Lloyd, a brave CBS journalist working alone, has produced a seminal achievement. With this film story, he has taught us why we must always support our soldiers – even when we might not support the leadership or policy that sent them to war.”-Sydney Shanberg, Pulitzer Prize Winner
“Vietnam was so long ago and such an ignominious defeat for American foreign policy that we can forget there were brave men and women in the field trying to do the impossible. They had a commitment to pursue this war and they sacrificed with their lives and emotions. Norman Lloyd's film is a remarkable testament to what happened with one unit and one objective: Shakey's Hill. It brings back the reality of combat and the continuing reality of the aftermath for the men who were there. Norman Lloyd was a superb journalist. I worked with him in Cambodia and Vietnam. There was no one better. See for yourself.” -Ed Bradley, 60 Minutes
A preview of 'Shakey's Hill' may be viewed at: http://www.twentyfirstcenturyvideo.com ;
copies of the film can be ordered by telephoning: 1-866-703-3777.
About Norman Lloyd
Cinematographer / DP, Executive Producer, Director
Norman Lloyd grew up in a coal mining town on the east coast of Australia. He left home at the age of 14 and worked on a diary farm milking cows. He later moved to the Outback and worked as a kangaroo hunter. Eventually, he made enough money to buy his first camera, a Bolex 16mm, which he would later carry with him to Vietnam.In June of 1965, Lloyd landed a job as a cameraman for a local Australian TV station. After a few years of experience, he flew to Vietnam on a one way ticket to cover the Vietnam War as a freelance cameraman. Lloyd covered the war for five years, filming combat in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. He would later go on to work for CBS News and 60 Minutes. In 2004, Lloyd retired, ending a 40 year career marked by a number of awards and accolades, including nine Emmy Awards. It was at this time that he began working on his first documentary feature.
About the GI Film Festival
The GI Film Festival (GIFF) is the first film festival in the nation to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the American military through the medium of film. The three-day festival was held over Memorial Day Weekend, in Washington, DC, at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. The GIFF presented films from new and established international and domestic filmmakers that honor the heroic stories of the American Armed Forces and the worldwide struggle for freedom and liberty. The GI Film Festival is open to filmmakers of every experience level, from first-timers to veteran directors and producers. Prizes will be awarded to winners of three main categories: feature, documentary, and film shorts.