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About the Film

Film Synopsis

Abandoned Allies is a documentary film about the Montagnards who served as American allies during the Vietnam War. It explores the history of these tribal people, how they supported the U.S. Special Forces during the war, and what has happened since then.

Now, more than 40 years after the war ended, both American and Montagnard soldiers open up about what took place and how it will affect future generations.

The Making of Abandoned Allies

The idea to make Abandoned Allies began in March 2008, when Surry Roberts and Camden Watts stood on the front porch talking about the Montagnard people and their role in the Vietnam War. Armed with the idea that others may want to know this story, they started working on the film together immediately–neither one knowing how to make a film, but willing to figure it out along the way.

About 20 people were interviewed on camera for the film. (The entire list of people featured in the film is available here.) Camden Watts traveled throughout North Carolina, as well as Illinois, Maryland, Virginia, and Wisconsin to interview these subject matter experts. Although visiting Vietnam would have added to the story, budget restrictions did not allow for it while making the film.

Over the course of four years, more than 40 volunteers supported the filmmakers–helping with production, post-production, promotion, and more. Production of Abandoned Allies took about two years, and post production took about two and a half years. Without the support of so many dedicated volunteers, it may have taken much longer to finish the film.

Abandoned Allies was completed in 2012. Its premiere took place at the IMAX at Marbles in Raleigh, N.C., on August 26, 2012. Additional screenings of the film are being organized. To share the film with your audience, email abandonedallies [at]

For more information about the making of the film, please use the comments section on this page. You can also read all about the making of the film on the director’s blog: Diary of a Documentary.

Camden Watts in Minnesota, en route to Wisconsin to interview Maj. John Plaster in 2009.

  1. Tina Glover permalink

    I have been invited (by iMax) to go to a special screening of your documentary. I am very interested and cannot wait to attend. I am wondering, however, if it is appropriate for my 10 yr old and 12 year old daughters.
    Thanks so much

  2. Abandoned Allies permalink

    Tina, your daughters are welcome to attend but there is some foul language in the film. The run time is about 60 minutes. If you bring them to the screening, please let me know how the experience was for them so we can share that with other parents!

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