Winner 2000

POV: Regret to Inform

P.O.V./American Documentary Inc., National Asian American Telecommunications Association, and Sun Fountain Productions

“We regret to inform,” the telegram began, as Barbara Sonneborn received word that her husband, Jeff, had been killed in the Vietnam War. Twenty years later, Sonneborn, now a photographer and visual artist, embarks on a very personal and moving journey in search for the truth about the war and its legacy. Framed as an odyssey through the U.S. to Vietnam, Sonneborn weaves together the stories of widows from both sides of the American-Vietnam war. The result is a profoundly moving examination of the impact of war over time. In Regret to Inform these women put a human face on the all-too-often overlooked casualties of armed conflict: the survivors. Intercut with beautiful scenes of the serene Vietnamese countryside and shocking archival footage from the war years, the women’s voices form an eloquent international chorus calling for compassion and peace. Assisting in the extraordinary story or reconciliation are executive producers Janet Cole, Lisa Heller, and Cara Mertes, and co-producer Ron Greenberg. For revealing an often painful but heartfelt quest and making viewers look at the Vietnam War from a completely different perspective, a Peabody Award goes to the moving and original Regret to Inform.