In Z Hood

In Z Hood: 2 Sides Now, The Award-Winning Documentary Film Project Comes Home


“War does not determine who is right, only who is left.” ~ Anonymous

By Kelly MacConomy

ALEXANDRIA,VA–The 2 Sides Project is a 2017 feature documentary film following the journey of six U.S. Gold Star sons and daughters to Vietnam as they connect their personal histories there with those men and women who share their profound and painful loss. The film takes us to the specific locations where each of the six lost their fathers. It is sacred ground. The 2 Sides Project will be shown in Del Ray this month.

The 2 Sides Project documentary premiered at the 2017 GI Film Festival in D.C. where it won the Founder’s Choice Award. The 2 Sides Project was founded by Gold Star daughter Margot Carlson Delonge in 2015. The film about it explores the connection between the sons and daughters who lost their fathers on both sides of the Vietnam War. Margot explains, “We know that facing the other side and our fears leads to more understanding, and lasting healing. We discovered that when we came together in Vietnam.”

The 2 Sides Project was directed by Alexandrian Anthony Istrico, founder of Istrico Productions. With a screenplay by Nora Kubach, who also edited the film, the vision of Director of Photography and Animation Jared Groneman, and post-production wizardry of photographer Marco Duran, they produced a must-see film.

The talented crew, working out of an office on Mount Vernon Avenue, wears many hats at Istrico Productions, including the ever faithful Lionel, the Bassador of Del Ray.

An exhibit of never-before-shown photographs taken on The 2 Sides filming location in Vietnam and during Anthony’s return visit in 2018 will be on exhibit at Del Ray Artisans Gallery from July 11 through July 14. Friday night, July 12, there will an opening reception from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The broadcast version of the film as seen on PBS will be shown Saturday, July 13, at 6:00 p.m. with an encore matinee screening of the feature-length version on Sunday, July 14, at 3:00 p.m. Both screenings will be followed by a Q&A with Anthony Istrico.

PBS already featured The 2 Sides Project, previewing it in some markets before Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War documentary in 2017. Soon it will be available for online screening, courtesy of PBS. Anthony is enthusiastic about the prospect of expanding to a wider audience.

I took this shot of Margot’s hands in the soil where we believed her father crashed his plane. Her father has never been found so we weren’t sure if that was her site, but this was taken in the Binh Duong Province about 40km away from the Bien Hoa Airbase where her father flew his last mission. Her hands showed me strength, desperation, and weakness all at once. (Anthony Istrico)
I met Hoa in Ho Chi Minh City, lounging outside of her apartment. She had just woken up from a nap. Hoa is 84 years old, and she worked at the Saigon Airport during the war. She said she loved the Americans she worked with. Hoa was thrilled to meet me and get her portrait taken, and she had one of the friendliest smiles I met on my trip! (Nora Kubach)

“Featuring the film and photography, our exhibit at the Del Ray Artisans Gallery is well timed with the documentary’s release on PBS online,” he said. “The film’s on-demand access gives us a tremendous opportunity to bring the healing message of The Two Sides Project to a broader audience.”

Writer and film editor Nora Kubach was not on location with Anthony and Jared in Vietnam during The 2 Sides Project filming, but she experienced a vicarious journey through having spent hundreds of hours viewing, reviewing, and editing shots. It was a labor of love, and joining them when they revisited Vietnam last year proved to be transformative. Even though she had never before been to Vietnam, for Nora it was a homecoming. Her private photographs from that experience will be on exhibit with The 2 Sides Project stills.

The picture of the little dude was at a local government facility in the Ha Tin Province. Several children approached us. They had never seen Americans, and they were so curious. Several people in our group handed out candy. This little guy was chewing on an ear of corn, wrapped it in his shirt, and extended his hand for a lollipop. He was amazed by my camera and I was amazed by his flip flops. (Anthony Istrico)

The May 2017 hometown premier of The 2 Sides Project took place at The Evening Star. The six Gold Star sons and daughters and several of the Vietnamese sons and daughters were there, as well as at the GI Film Festival screening.

Anthony’s eyes widen as expansively as his smile when discussing this extraordinary film achievement. “After premiering our film in Washington, D.C., two years ago, we are excited to share never-before-seen images with our Del Ray community.”

This was shot in the Vietnamese countryside. I cannot identify the exact area, but to me it was what I had always envisioned Vietnam looking like. (Anthony Istrico)

You can read Zebra’s original coverage of The 2 Sides Project at

Everyone is invited to give The 2 Sides Project a warm homecoming at the opening reception July 12 and at the special film screenings. All events are free and open to the public. The Del Ray Artisans Gallery is located at 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria. Gallery hours are Thursday 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.. 703~838~4827

Kelly MacConomy

Kelly MacConomy is the Arts Editor for The Zebra Press.

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