The Friendship Village was created near Hanoi by a group of Vietnam War veterans for children with Agent Orange-related birth defects. This powerhouse 2002 documentary weaves the riveting battlefield experience of Village founder George Mizo into an inspiring account of ordinary people moved to make a difference without waiting for their government or a well-funded charity to step up.
In this clip, a team of Canadian scientists and analysts takes soil samples in the A Luoi Valley, where dioxin levels are highly elevated and pose a serious risk — decades after the last spraying — to the Vietnamese working and living on the land.
Hatfield Consultants, an environmental sciences firm located, coincidentally, near the filmmaker's Vancouver office, began studying the concentration of dioxin in the A Luoi Valley in 1994. Their work, Mason says, along with The Friendship Village and other documentaries and newscasts, raised awareness in the United States and Canada about the continuing effects of Agent Orange. In the years after the film's release, the Ford Foundation sponsored three Hatfield studies of dioxin contamination in and around the airport at Da Nang, a former U.S. military base that was a major transfer point for Agent Orange from ships to planes.