Doug Brooks

Sons of Seventy One

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Alone in the night, on a bus, in the cold, Rob waits to be reunited with his brother Mark. It is 1971 and the quiet winter streets of small-town New Zealand are a long way from the sweltering heat and chaos of the Vietnam War. A light parts the gloom as Mark arrives - to find the battle still raging in his brother's mind.

Sons of Seventy One is a short film about two brothers and the struggle of post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of Vietnam. Growing from a one-act play featured in the 2013 Nelson Arts Festival, it's a nod to the servicemen and women who suffered during the unpopular war, and in some cases for the rest of their lives. Many were attacked personally, and in May 1971 there were massive protests against the war in Queen St, Auckland. And rightly so - but that doesn't take away from the poor treatment the soldiers received.

In some cases, their mental wounds affected subsequent generations - not to mention the genetic legacy inflicted by Agent Orange. They suffered longer than they should have due to the New Zealand Government's reluctance to acknowledge them and the ongoing health effects of the war. It wasn't until 2001 that Helen Clark's government issued an apology to the service personnel, finally addressing the way they were treated when they returned home.

Half the film has now been shot, with the help of dozens of Nelson and Tasman people. It is being edited and produced to a high standard, with heart-warming performances from brothers Doug and Jeff Brooks. There is one day left to shoot, which involves the Vietnamese community in the Top of the South Island.

We are looking for $5000 to finish this film and hope we can find that through people's generosity here at Boosted. The money will go towards paying key members of the cast and crew, film festival entry fees, and production costs. We think this is an important story that deserves to be told, in honour of the sons and daughters of 71.


  • In the Nelson Mail!


    Reporter Johnny Carson and photographer Braden Fastier were kind enough to come and interview me about the project and photograph me in the vintage bus we're using in the film. I look a bit worried in the shots (probably appropriate) but it's great to have the support from the local rag, cheers guys!


    In the Nelson Mail!