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Burns sees Vietnam War as virus, documentary as vaccination

Associated Press logo Associated Press 7/16/2017 By HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press
FILE - In this April 28, 1965 file photo, U.S. Marine infantry stream into a suspected Viet Cong village near Da Nang in Vietnam during the Vietnamese war. Filmmaker Ken Burns said he hopes his 10-part documentary about the War, which begins Sept. 17, 2017 on PBS, could serve as sort of a vaccine against some problems that took root during the conflict, such as a lack of civil discourse in America. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this April 28, 1965 file photo, U.S. Marine infantry stream into a suspected Viet Cong village near Da Nang in Vietnam during the Vietnamese war. Filmmaker Ken Burns said he hopes his 10-part documentary about the War, which begins Sept. 17, 2017 on PBS, could serve as sort of a vaccine against some problems that took root during the conflict, such as a lack of civil discourse in America. (AP Photo/Eddie Adams, File)

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) — Filmmaker Ken Burns says his upcoming documentary about the Vietnam War could serve as sort of a vaccine against some of the problems that took root during the conflict.

FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, file photo, Ken Burns, from left, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Lynn Novick speak at PBS' "The Vietnam War" panel at the 2017 Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. The public TV service said its fall lineup will be anchored by Burns' "The Vietnam War," a 10-part documentary debuting Sept. 17. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, file photo, Ken Burns, from left, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Lynn Novick speak at PBS' "The Vietnam War" panel at the 2017 Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. The public TV service said its fall lineup will be anchored by Burns' "The Vietnam War," a 10-part documentary debuting Sept. 17. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

Burns and co-director Lynn Novick spent 10 years on the 10-part, 18-hour series that will begin airing on PBS in September. They've been previewing excerpts around the country, most recently at Dartmouth College on Thursday night.

FILE - In this Jan. 1, 1966 file photo, a Paratrooper of the 173rd U.S. Airborne brigade crouches with women and children in a muddy canal as intense Viet Cong sniper fire temporarily pins down his unit during the Vietnamese War near Bao trai in Vietnam. Filmmaker Ken Burns said he hopes his 10-part documentary about the War, which begins Sept. 17, 2017 on PBS, could serve as sort of a vaccine against some problems that took root during the conflict, such as a lack of civil discourse in America. (AP Photo/Horst Faas, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Jan. 1, 1966 file photo, a Paratrooper of the 173rd U.S. Airborne brigade crouches with women and children in a muddy canal as intense Viet Cong sniper fire temporarily pins down his unit during the Vietnamese War near Bao trai in Vietnam. Filmmaker Ken Burns said he hopes his 10-part documentary about the War, which begins Sept. 17, 2017 on PBS, could serve as sort of a vaccine against some problems that took root during the conflict, such as a lack of civil discourse in America. (AP Photo/Horst Faas, File)

Burns says the lack of civil discourse in America and other problems can be traced to the Vietnam War era, and he hopes the film will prompt courageous conversations about what took place.

The film brings together the latest scholarly research on Vietnam and features interviews with Americans who fought in the war and those who opposed it, Vietnamese civilians and soldiers from both sides.

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This story has been corrected to show that the co-director's last name is Novick, not Novak.

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