By Laura Rosser
When screenwriter Ken Miller moved to Port Angeles in 1983 after retiring from the Army, the former Green Beret was seeking the isolation of the North Olympic Peninsula.
But Miller found that he couldn’t hide from the Vietnam War experiences, thoughts and memories of what he had seen and done as a helicopter gunship pilot.
He managed to ease himself back into society with the compromise of living in a rural area.
Some veterans don’t manage that compromise. Many who cannot escape the haunting nightmares seek isolation in the woods.
They are the inspiration for “Missing in America,” a movie written by Miller that will make its world premiere this weekend at the Seattle International Film Festival.
Miller completed the screenplay five years ago, and the movie was finished just a week ago.
The story’s inspiration, Miller said, came from a group of Vietnam veterans living in the foothills between Sequim and Port Angeles.
The independent film — which stars Danny Glover as a Vietnam vet who isolates himself from society by retreating into the woods only to find himself suddenly entrusted with a former platoon member’s Vietnamese-American daughter — will be screened on Saturday and Monday.
After that, Miller said, producer/director Gabrielle Savage Dockterman is hoping the film will be picked up by a distributor and sent to theaters throughout the nation.
Although the movie was filmed near Vancouver, British Columbia, Miller said people from the North Olympic Peninsula will recognize the names of places mentioned in the script.
Anything but cathartic
Seeing the film, Miller said, will be cathartic for Vietnam veterans, but it was anything but that for Miller to write it.
“It took me places I’d been avoiding going all these years,” he said.
“Everybody from Vietnam’s got some guilt over what they did.
“I wrote it for the Vietnam veteran and his family.”
“MISSING IN AMERICA,” inspired by North Olympic Peninsula Vietnam War veterans and written by Port Angeles resident Ken Miller, will be screened at the Egyptian Theatre, 801 E. Pine St., Seattle, on Saturday at 6 p.m. and Monday at 1:30 p.m.
A question and answer period with the filmmakers will follow both screenings.Admission to the showings is $10.