50 Years Ago Australian Forces Arrive in Vietnam

6RAR Vung Tau Ferry
6RAR arrive in South Vietnam on the Vung Tau Ferry

50 years ago in June 1965, the first Australian combat troops, 1RAR along with support elements; 105 Field Battery, 161 Field Battery (New Zealand) and a Troop of Australian APC’s – all attached to the US 173rd Airborne Brigade – arrived in Vietnam. 49 years ago on 9 June 1966, the first Australian Task Force arrived in Vietnam.

An infantry battalion, 6RAR, comprising approximately 600 combat troops, an Armoured Personnel Carrier unit, the 4/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse, Australian Artillery, a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) unit with six Caribou planes, a small surgical team, some civil engineers, diary and signals experts and the men in the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), were under the command of Colonel, later Brigadier, Oliver Jackson, the Commander, Australian Army Force, Vietnam, who although based at the Australian Headquarters in Saigon, was under the operational control of the U.S. Supreme Commander, General William Westmoreland.

Earlier on 6 June 1966, eight Iroquois helicopters from 9 Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), landed at the Vung Tau airbase, Vietnam. The Bell UH-1B Iroquois or “Huey” is almost synonymous with the Vietnam War and for the next five and a half years 9 Squadron’s Hueys supported the 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF).

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Anniversary fundraiser to unite soldiers from Long Tan to Afghanistan

Long Tan Cross
Dedication of the Long Tan Cross, 18th August 1969

The links that bind Australian and New Zealand soldiers, past and present, will be underscored when veterans of the historic Battle of Long Tan join with troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan for a very special charity event in Canberra next month.

This event will feature a first ever screening on the big screen of the critically acclaimed and award-winning documentary The Battle of Long Tan narrated by Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator Salvation, Clash of the Titans) at Dendy Cinemas in the Canberra Mall.

The event on Thursday, 16 August, which has the full support of former Chief of the Australian Army LTGEN Peter Leahy AC (Retd), is being held in advance of the 46th anniversary of the Long Tan conflict – one of the most savage of the Vietnam War.

All proceeds raised will be shared between Australia’s two major independent soldier support groups – Soldier On soldieron.org.au and The Commando Welfare Trust commandotrust.com.

This event will bring together an array of military veterans, family, next of kin, serving soldiers, politicians, and representatives of the business and entertainment sectors.

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The Economics of a Movie

One of the misconceptions I see time and time again in online forums and in the media is around the success or failure of movies based on their box office performance and their budget and therefore whether the movie actually makes any money for the producers, production company and investors (if any). I’ve also written a previous blog post called ‘Can Australian Films Make Money‘ which outlines why many Australian films don’t make money and the key attributes filmmakers should be focused on.

I must point out that there is no such thing as ‘build it and they will come’, in our case make a film, get a small distribution deal and people will come and see it. The majority of Australian films suffer from poor to non-existent marketing, unrealistic expectations about audience interest, not enough investment in marketing or poorly targeted marketing. Mao’s Last Dancer achieved $15m at the Australian box office off the back of a best selling book (existing audience) and a $2.5m+ marketing budget. Even great films like ‘The World’s Fastest Indian‘ which did extremely well in Australia and New Zealand and generated critical acclaim, can do poorly with poor distribution deals – in this case a poor U.S. distribution deal. I have outlined a detailed case study of Paranormal Activity which was made for USD$15k and earned some USD$180m at the box office through a very smart marketing strategy and campaign in one of my other blog posts ‘The Future of Filmmaking: Seizing back control of the Six Pillars of Cinema‘.

Now, before I outline a couple of detailed breakdowns of what a movie might earn and the expenses and fees associated with it (tables below), it is important to note the different distribution relationships independent producers have with the distributors:

  • In-house studio production
  • Negative pick-up
  • Distribution agreement

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