Be Good, Smile Pretty (2003)

Genres - Family & Personal Relationships, History  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Military & War, Psychology, Social Issues  |   Run Time - 56 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Writer/director/producer Tracy Droz Tragos makes her feature debut with the documentary Be Good, Smile Pretty. In 2001, Tragos did an Internet search on her father's name: Lt. Donald Glenn Droz. She ended up reading a detailed account of her father's death in Vietnam, where his ship was ambushed in 1969. Because she was only three-months-old when he died, Tragos never had a chance to know her father. Her desire to learn about him and mourn his passing led to a personal journey across the country. Along with help from her mother, Judy Droz Keyes, she met with his colleagues from the war, watched his old home movies, and listened to his voice on audio tapes. Eventually, she traveled to the Vietnam Memorial and met with other adults who lost a parent in the war. Wanting to help others like her, Tragos created the non-profit organization the Orphans of War Foundation. The film's title comes from the phrase Lt. Droz used to close his letters. Be Good, Smile Pretty won Best Documentary Feature at the IFP Los Angeles Film Festival in 2003.

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Keywords

daughter, death-in-family, father, grief, healing, stories, understanding, Vietnam