Genesis of The Film
December, 2011. I was outside, freezing my butt off, having a cigar and a beer, and sharing thoughts with Michael Kosch, a friend and composer. Christmas party at the home of Alex Roe, Artistic Director of the Metropolitan Playhouse in Manhattan’s East Village.
The subject of Vietnam came up. I don’t remember why. I recalled the cascade of feelings I had on the day I left Vietnam. Pride, relief, excitement . . . but only after that Freedom Bird actually got off the ground, ‘cause . . . you never know. Michael was touched. “Hey, you’ve got to put that down on paper,” he said. Yeah, right.
2012. Same party, different cigar, more beer, another memory or two. Again, Michael pushed. "You've got to write these down. It's important." I guess I didn’t think so.
Same time. 2013. Different party. More stories. More “push” from Michael Kosch and actor/director Michael Hardart. I suppose I needed some assurance that this wouldn’t be just a vanity piece, that the material had some intrinsic value. And, frankly, I wasn’t sure I had enough to say. “Okay. I’ll try.”
As the process of writing began, so did a good bit of soul-searching. Are my words honest? How accurate is my memory, after fifty years or so? Why did I make some of the unusual life choices about which I was writing? Do I think this script can be a meaningful part of the body of literature addressing the Vietnam War? Have I shown proper respect for the valor of so many who went over there, so many who were at far greater risk than I? (I certainly was no hero, and did not want to convey the impression that I thought myself to be one.) Perhaps most importantly, will people just plain enjoy…and be moved by the piece?
The stage play, “Vietnam…through my lens”, premiered in New York City in the fall of 2014. It has played in nine states to date. Reviews and public commentary have been strong and positive.
Now, the text is now being brought to life in a different and intimate dimension. “Vietnam…through my lens”, the film. We are pleased to present the film to a new, worldwide audience.
To those who served over in Nam and made it back, “Welcome Home.”
And may God Bless America.
"Hit it out of the park."
Tom Lynott, retired NYPD Detective
"You sublime genius, Stu."
Ricardo Cordero, Director & Producer, Sackett Street Films
"Your performance and those stories are amazing. I am so incredibly grateful they have been preserved forever."
Noah Ehlert, film director, commercial photographer, philanthropist
"You have taken (the show) to a new level...what a tribute to your hard work and artistry."
Paul Krouner, owner of Camp Schodack (a summer camp for kids)
"Fascinating, touching, inspiring, glued to my seat, first rate."
Phyllis Erickson, corporate executive (retired)
"WOW. Beautifully done and very touching."
Ron Nordmann, former Wall Street analyst
"A mixture of chuckles and tears."
Jim Miller, attorney
My wife and I were entranced by your presentation."
Larry Goodman, MD., Air Force veteran
"Great job. Enjoyed it tremendously."
Harvey Bagg, Navy veteran (Vietnam era)
"What a beautiful piece of work. You were wonderful. The cinematography was amazing and what a powerful story you tell."
Margaret Aylward, Public School Administrator
"It felt like you were right in the room with us! Your experiences pack an emotional punch."
Pam Lynott, Media Sales Executive
"Fabulous job, Stu! An impressive accomplishment."
Carl Monego, Film Director & Producer
"A very thoughtful and thought-provoking movie."
Sue Zeltman, film aficionado
"Very well done."
David Simonetti, attorney
“Stu was so natural in his recollections and emotions, and open about his experiences and perspectives... refreshing!"
Nancy C., Relative and friend of several West Point grads & Vietnam Vets
Stu grew up on Long Island, in New York State. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Cornell Law School. After Vietnam, he practiced law for about seventeen years. A couple of those years were with NYS’s Public Service Commission; the remaining fifteen were with General Electric Company. In this “Legal Period” of his life, he also taught Business Law at three colleges. In 1987, he thinks, Stu abandoned the suited world for the arts. As he puts it, “I found myself staring at the pieces of paper on my desk, and didn’t want to work on those business matters anymore.” A bit of community theater here, an indie film there. (He thinks one of those indies, about the development of steam railroading in America, is still playing all day, every day, at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento!) A happy attachment to Northside Theater Company in San Jose, California as Development Director and later, as its Writer in Residence. Then, in ‘97, a wise friend told Stu it was time to give his acting and writing a shot in New York City; that was all the research and analysis Stu needed. So, in December of ‘97, he drove his little, rental van across what remained of Route 66 and some other “blue highways”, finally settling in an apartment in Greenwich Village. Still there! “Am closer to anonymous than famous”, he says, but he is proud of his work and progress.
Among his TV credits, Stu has had principal roles in “30 Rock” (Alec Baldwin’s boss,) "Billions" (a rich guy in a scene with Damian Lewis), "What Would You Do?" (an old fellow whose best buddy just died), "Gypsy" (Blythe Danner's husband), and "The Get Down" (a deacon in a scene with Giancarlo Esposito).
Stu has appeared in over thirty, indie films. In “Death in Love”, he played the father of Lukas Haas and Josh Lucas…and the husband of Jacqueline Bisset. Stu played Jill Eikenberry’s husband in “Starting Out in the Evening”. In “Hiding Divya”, he played the companion of the Indian actress and author, Madhur Jaffrey.
Stu has appeared in dozens of Off Broadway, Regional and other stage shows. Regional appearances include “Proof” (The Red House Theater, Syracuse NY), “Twilight of the Golds” (Shadowland, Ellenville NY), “Holiday” (San Jose CA Rep), “State of the Union” (J City Theatre, Jersey City, NJ), “Mortal Decisions, A Diary of the Donner Party” (Depot Theatre, Westport, NY) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (San Jose CA Stage.)
Stu researched, wrote and toured three (solo) stage shows before “Vietnam…through my lens” emerged. “Mortal Decisions, a Diary of the Donner Party”; “Theodore Judah and the Transcontinental Railroad” and “Everyone’s War”.
Corporate ads have come along every once in a while. e.g. AT&T, Siemens, ING, Nortel, Abbott Healthcare, Fazoli’s. And a handful of pharmaceutical, print jobs. e.g. Xarelto, Leukine & Fentora.
Stu is a member of Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA. He is also a life member of VFW Post 5195 in Red Hook (Brooklyn), NY and of American Legion Post 0581 in Inwood (Manhattan), NY.
Producer and Editor of 'VTML', John has spent 30 years working in the fast-paced world of broadcast television, having started his career working with Hollywood icons such as Ridley Scott, Lewis Gilbert and Gale Anne Hurd. In 1995, John opened the first production facility in Connecticut to provide Hollywood-level 3D animation and special effects to broadcasters and advertising agencies, and has won numerous awards for his advertising work. His client list is a Who’s Who of America’s top corporations and broadcasters. In the early 2000s, he established himself as a leading producer of fitness videos, having produced nearly all of the bestselling titles for the top fitness personalities in the world. Today, he gets the most satisfaction working on projects he produces for his own company.
Dennis A. Starr
Executive producer of the documentary film entitled Vietnam…through my lens, which chronicles one man’s story of his journey before, during and after serving in the US Army as a photojournalist.
Founder and current 29-year operator of Razamataz! Events Unlimited, Inc., a company engaged in off-site meeting management and production of special events for corporations, associations and not for profits.
VA and NYS Certified Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Operator
Former Manager of Budgeting for ITT Continental Baking Company.
Honorably discharged Vietnam War veteran, having served 54 weeks in country during 1968 and 1969 attached to II Corps. HQ in the 43rd Signal Battalion, Pleiku, Republic of South Vietnam.
Paid up for life memberships in the American Legion, VFW, Vietnam Veterans of America and the Disabled American Veterans organizations
Active participant in the NYS American Legion Post 8, NYS VFW Post 439 and VVA Chapter 49
Founding member of the Veterans Business Network, an organization dedicated to assist veteran owned businesses to do business with other veteran owned businesses
Linda S. Nelson
Linda (Assistant Director) is a New York actor, director, dramaturge and producer. She first started her journey on Vietnam…through my lens as dramaturge for the stage play and quickly moved into the position of the Directing Producer of the original stage production opening in New York City in 2014. She continues as the Director and Producer of its touring production, cover nine states and still touring. Her other New York directing credits include Toast, Boast or Roast – A Tribute to Austin Pendleton featuring Olympia Dukakis, Louis Zorich, F. Murray Abraham, Dylan Baker and Becky Ann Baker at the Players Club (Oberon Theatre Ensemble); Missa Solemnis or The Play About Henry by Roman Feeser (World Premiere, Tour, The Barrow Group Theatre, Downtown Urban Theatre Festival and Winterfest); Tongue of a Bird by Ellen McLaughlin (Shetler Theatre and The Medicine Show), The Necessary Disposal by Bob Ost (Scripts Up!); The Choice by Claire Luckham (Shotgun Productions, North American Premiere); Three Tenors in Search of an Act (Helen's Cabaret, Backstage Bistro Award Winner); and two interactive murder mysteries The Art of Murder and Delicious Death, both of which she co-wrote. In addition to her directing credits, Ms. Nelson is also an award-winning actress who has appeared on stage, screen and TV.
Tony has over 35 years in the television broadcast industry. Mr. Ceglio joined the National Football League’s New York Giants staff in 1976, as the team’s first Film Director. He immediately introduced innovations such as the installation of a state-of-the-art film laboratory. In 1986, he was elected Chairman of the National Football League Video Directors Committee. He authored the policies, practices and rules for all NFL Video and, along with NFL Properties, completed a $17 million deal with Sony for the league to switch from film to video.
As the Founder of the Giants’ Broadcast Production Department, Mr. Ceglio pioneered the process of NFL team in-house television. Through the years, Mr. Ceglio was the Executive Producer and Director of his shows.