Bravo! The Project - A Documentary Film

Posts Tagged ‘Indiegogo’

Documentary Film,Film Screenings,Marines,Vietnam War

July 9, 2014

A True Friend to BRAVO!

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Meet Carol Caldwell-Ewart, BRAVO!’s Associate Producer. You’ve seen the name in the credits, perhaps even met Carol, but we’d like to tell you a little more about her.

Carol was our friend in Sonoma County long before we moved to Idaho and became filmmakers, and was quite interested and encouraging when we decided to tell the story of the Vietnam War through the experiences of Bravo Company during the Siege of Khe Sanh.

In spite of the fact that she works fulltime-plus, has many interests and talents such as editing, business and creative writing, travel, pottery, family and dance, Carol asked what she could do to support our efforts. She believed in what we were doing, and knew we couldn’t do it alone.

Carol Caldwell-Ewart. Photo courtesy of Betty Rodgers

Carol Caldwell-Ewart.
Photo courtesy of Betty Rodgers

So Carol set forth and developed and managed three separate Indiegogo fundraising campaigns which were all successfully funded. Had it not been for these efforts, and her own personal donations, we would not have had the resources to complete BRAVO!

Once we had all our material gathered and interviews completed, it was time to choose an editor, and Carol played a significant role here as well. We were fortunate to hear from Vietnam veteran and long-time sound and film editor, John Nutt, who was interested in working with us, but we had not met him face-to-face—he lived in California and we are in Idaho. Once again, Carol stepped up. She went to see John for that critical first meeting and subsequently was confident it would be a good match. Sure enough, she was spot on.

Carol joined us at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County when we were there for the final sound re-mix. This was to be the first time she gained a glimpse of the breadth and power of the story she had worked so hard for. She was with us when we screened it to the employees of Skywalker Sound in Lucas’ state-of-the-art theater.

Once the film was ready to be shown to invitation-only crowds, Carol then asked to host one of our very first screenings for our northern California donors. She pulled out all the stops with the location, the food and beverages, and the huge crowd of friends, family and supporters.

Since then, Carol has attended many of our screenings, working in the background to be sure all the details were attended to, and handling DVD sales to enable us to talk with people. She has designed and printed programs, and pitches in to help the hosts when they need it, such as checking sound equipment, arranging food on platters, and directing guests to the venue. She is an excellent spokesperson.

We are also extremely grateful when we send text off to Carol and ask her to don her editor’s hat (of course, it’s a red one…Carol’s favorite color). We may have struggled and struggled to word something well and just not been happy with it. In a matter of minutes, Carol has reworded it to be exactly what we wanted.

Carol Caldwell-Ewart manning the goody table on the SS Jeremiah O'Brien. Photo courtesy of Betty Rodgers

Carol Caldwell-Ewart manning the goody table on the SS Jeremiah O’Brien.
Photo courtesy of Betty Rodgers

Over these last four years, Carol says she has grown to love the men in the film and admire their courage in telling this story. Yet in all this time, she had met just one other Bravo Company Marine besides Ken. So when she learned there would be a significant number of the men in attendance at our recent screening in Springfield, IL, she decided to travel there to meet them. Carol flew there at her own expense, and knew each face the minute they walked in the room.

Little did each of them know whom they were meeting…this amazing woman who has championed them and their story from the very beginning. She has stood by them and honored them and given a great deal of herself to be sure the film did not languish in some obscure corner. Fortunately over the time Carol was in Springfield, the men did come to know her too.

And so here, on behalf of everyone involved with the film, we would like to express our deepest gratitude for all you have given, Carol, with no expectation of anything in return. We appreciate your warm smile, your keen mind, your generous heart, and your belief in all of us. May you receive the same degree of friendship you give so well.

Carol Caldwell-Ewart and  BRAVO! Marine Mr. Ben Long get acquainted in Springfield, Illinois. Photo courtesy of Betty Rodgers

Carol Caldwell-Ewart and
BRAVO! Marine Mr. Ben Long get acquainted in Springfield, Illinois.
Photo courtesy of Betty Rodgers

On the screening front, BRAVO! will be screened at the Union League Club of Chicago, 65 West Jackson Blvd, Chicago, Illinois on July 24, 2014. Sponsored by American Legion Post 758, this event begins with registration at 5:00 PM. The film will be screened at 5:30 with a Q & A session with Co-producers Betty and Ken Rodgers and BRAVO! Marine Michael E. O’Hara following the screening. Complimentary snacks will be provided and there will be a signature bar with beverages of your choice.

The program will end at 8:00 PM. Reservations are required. To reserve your seats please go to the Eventbrite registration page @

Please note, this event is business casual: no jeans, no denim, no shorts; shirts must have collars.
If you would like to host a screening of BRAVO! in your town this summer or fall, please contact us immediately.

DVDs of BRAVO! are available. For more information go to

BRAVO! has a page on Facebook. Please “like” us and “share” the page at It’s another way you can help spread the word about the film and what it is really like to fight in a war.

Documentary Film,Khe Sanh,Marines,Vietnam War

January 4, 2011

The Year in Review

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As do many things in my life, Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor, started out as a conversation, a dream, a boast, and as long as it remained as such, nothing about it really mattered much. My wife and I could sit around with coffee, lattes, mochas, maybe a plate of tamales and enchiladas and palaver about what a movie might look like, or how one would structure it, or how one would even go about contemplating making a movie about Bravo Company, First Battalion, 26th Marines at the siege of Khe Sanh when you have no filmmaking experience.
After a phone call to the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, Betty dashed off a letter telling them what we would do (as if we really knew what we would do) and what a shock it was to have them grant us funds to begin making the film. Not only did they give us seed money, they offered help with historical aspects of the film. And with our heads spinning around and around, our minds dreaming of how and when and where, we were suddenly movie makers. And we knew we had some quick learning to do.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, in early April 1968 when, for the final time, I got off a chopper that had departed Khe Sanh, I stood and looked back into the mountains and swore that there was a story there that needed telling and that I would tell that story. And in April 2010, forty-two years later, we began with interviews of me, then in July off to the Khe Sanh Veterans annual get-together in San Antonio where we interviewed, John “Doc” Cicala, Mike McCauley, Lloyd Scudder, Ron Rees, Frank McCauley, Michael O’Hara, Ken Pipes, Peter Weiss and Steve Wiese. Betty and I hit the road in early August and traveled back to Washington, DC, and on the way there and back interviewed the late Dan Horton, Cal Bright, Tom Quigley, Ben Long and Ken Korkow. We also did three weeks’ research in the Marine Corps University (what an anomaly to me, a Marine Corps University—I’m more attuned to Quonset huts and bayonets, loud staff sergeants and getting online—and not on the internet—and assaulting a hill) at Quantico and at the National Archives.
We returned to Boise and catalogued photos, film, sound and watched interviews, interviews, interviews as we made trailers and stuck them up on YouTube and Vimeo and assessed our funding needs. Reality set in. We started computing funds needed versus funds on hand and we knew we needed to raise more money. So, we began serious fund raising efforts which, despite my natural pessimism, are beginning to flow in. A special thanks here to Mary McColl (our chief money finder) and Carol Caldwell-Ewart (who built our crowdfunding website at IndieGoGo) and Michael and Linda Hosford who are doing the grunt work in beating the bushes for individual funders. A big shout out, too, to all the former marines and corpsmen who have also helped us raise money, and to all the movie-making people in Hollywood and Boise and Springfield, IL and Omaha, NE who have helped us leap forward with our movie making. And of course, a big hearty thanks to all the other helpers and contributors out there who love our vision and want to help.
And now, as the year 2010 has ended, we contemplate the editing process and the actual making of the movie in some coherent, historical and artistic form that will educate and (I don’t want to say entertain) move, emote, people on a visceral level. We have one final interview with the military historian Dr. David Walker at Boise State University. After getting his cuts into the film, we want to move on to film festivals and openings and showings and distributing DVDs so the story I contemplated telling back there in 1968 will get told, fairly, accurately, and most importantly to me, told emotionally. The story these interviews, these photos, these film clips tell is history, but it is about people who overcome and persevere, who live and stand tall in the face of unimagined adversity; and I want viewers to understand those traits beneath their own skins, not only in their brains, but in the way the hair stands up on the back of their necks, how they shiver and how they fight to keep tears from falling as they watch the movie.
So into 2011 and onward and upward. We still have until 1/9/2011 on our crowdfunding website, Indiegogo, to collect more money, which we will need to help pay for editing this film.
Thank you all, dear supporters of Bravo, for staying interested, for helping us, for keeping your fingers crossed for us. Don’t stop now.