ONLINE TICKET SALES END AT 5:00 ON JUNE 28. Remaining tickets will be sold at the door starting at 7:30. JIMMY IN SAIGON begins as a personal exploration into the mysterious death and radical life of Jimmy McDowell, an American 24-year-old Vietnam veteran who died as a civilian in Saigon in 1972, when filmmaker Peter McDowell was only five. While investigating Jimmy’s drug use and sexuality, Peter takes us from the US Midwest to Vietnam, France and back home to the Mid-West again. In his quest to get to know his brother, Peter uncovers a hidden romance, new family ties that transcend countries and cultures, the beginnings of healing from devastating consequences of war and family secrets — and a remarkably intimate yet global love story. 2022, Documentary, USA, 89 min. In English, French, Vietnamese with English subtitles. Filmed in USA, France, Vietnam.
Community Partner: The Phyllis B. Frank Pride Center of Rockland County
Meet the Filmmaker: Peter McDowell will discuss Jimmy in Saigon with another brother, John McDowell. John is the former director and current board chair of the Rockland Farm Alliance. He composed the music for Jimmy in Saigon.
BFI Flare: London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival *World Premiere*
Frameline Int’l LGBTQ+ Film Festival San Francisco
Bentonville Film Festival Arkansas
Athens Int’l Film Fest. Greece
Reeling: The Chicago Int’l LGBTQ+ Film Festival *Audience Award*
GAZE Int’l LGBT Film Festival Dublin *Best Documentary*
Viet Film Festival *Nominated for Best Feature*
About filmmaker Peter McDowell
Peter’s storytelling reflects his training as an actor, musician, curator and producer, stemming from a childhood surrounded by opera and the arts. Previous films, including the acclaimed I Dream of Dorothy, have been shown at festivals around the world. A recipient of the highly competitive DeVos Institute for Arts Management International Fellowship at the University of Maryland, Peter also received a Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events Individual Artists Program grant and a California Humanities Council grant for Jimmy in Saigon. Peter lived in San Francisco from 1992-1996 and 2010-2011. He worked for the San Francisco Opera and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where he was part of the inaugural staff. Two of Peter’s short films played at the Frameline Film Festival, in 1994 and 1995. Peter is the founder of Peter McDowell Arts Consulting and recently served as the Director of Development for American Friends of the Louvre. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
“Handsomely filmed… it has the feel of a detective story. It will grab you.” — Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune
“Intriguing … beautiful … Searching for the truth about his brother’s mysterious death, Peter McDowell creates a compassionate picture…”
— Tara Judah, Screen Daily
“Powerful [story] about family, the LGBTQ community, and unconditional love. …
In a time of pandemic, war and what often appears as irreconcilable political differences, we could all use a reminder that stories about family and love — stories that many of us can relate to, irrespective of who we are, where we came from or what we believe — have the power to bring people together.” — Camille Escovedo, Sonoma Magazine
“A loving eulogy, [and a] deeply personal journey of healing. An assured documentary debut embedded in a love that never died, and a need to remember, understand and celebrate a sibling who kept his life and loves hidden from those he left behind.” — Neil Baker, Cinerama
“A loving, engaging, and sympathetic story which moves from a picturesque 50s American family to a struggling man alone and hiding the truth from his family, and the brother who refuses to let go of his memory. A testament to how we pay respect to lost loved ones.” — Rebecca Cherry, Film Carnage
“Standout film. … Intensely personal [with] a great soundtrack and clever use of animation. Ultimately, it celebrates a short but powerful life. … Highly recommended.” — Ris Fatah, Queerguru
“A spellbinding detective story. … Jimmy in Saigon is one of the heart-wrenching gems of Frameline46, not to be overlooked.” — Brian Bromberger, Bay Area Reporter
JIMMY IN SAIGON (‘JIS’) was named one of the ‘Best LGBTQ Films of the Year’ by San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter and has screened at over 30 festivals since launching at BFI London Flare FF in Spring 2022, followed by full houses and standing ovations at Frameline San Francisco LGBTQ FF, NewFest New York, among many other festivals across the U.S. including in Seattle, Chicago, Hawaii, California, Alabama, Florida, and also in Greece, Italy, Ireland, Taiwan (over 30 and counting).
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Rivertown Film is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts and from Restart the Arts, a regrant program of Arts Westchester, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.
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