During the Vietnam War, Agent Orange was sprayed extensively by the U.S. military across forested areas of the country.
Today, the Vietnamese Red Cross estimates exposure to the herbicide has negatively impacted the health of up to three million Vietnamese, among them, an estimated 150, 000 children.
No one knows these statistics better than filmmaker Courtney Marsh. She originally traveled to Vietnam to chronicle the lives of its street children. She soon discovered a story that would drastically change and potentially save lives.
“These kids kind of saw themselves as kids, not victims, and I thought that was something really amazing,” explained Marsh.
The Vietnam War: Children living with Agent Orange’s legacyAgent Orange expert Charles Bailey and filmmaker Courtney Marsh discuss the effects of the herbicide on children in Vietnam.
In her latest film, Chau, Beyond the Lines, Marsh introduces us to Chau, a disabled Vietnamese teenager living in a care center for children who are disabled by Agent Orange. Despite his physical limitations and countless obstacles, Chau is determined to realize his dream of becoming a professional artist and clothing designer.
During the film’s eight-year endeavor, Marsh also met and sought the help of Charles Bailey, a lead advisor in the cleanup effort surrounding Agent Orange in Vietnam.
“We really need to keep the attention on this. The public health threat is nearly over, but the legacy of the original exposure is still there and we’ve got to deal with it as Americans and as Vietnamese working together,” said Bailey.
From Seattle, Washington, Charles Bailey joined May Lee who is with filmmaker Courtney Marsh in our Los Angeles studio.