The American version of the Vietnam War generally ends on April 30, 1975, the day the last of the U.S. troops and diplomats boarded planes and helicopters and left Vietnam. But for many Vietnamese, especially for those who had been loyal to the toppled South Vietnamese government, the fall of Saigon and the takeover of the Communist Viet Cong government was only the beginning of a long, terrible journey. Many of these citizens, loyal to the former government, found themselves incarcerated in Communist "re-education" camps for years. Still more Vietnamese, many of them women and children, fled Vietnam for other Southeast Asian countries or America, and became known as the "boat people."
The journey of the "boat people" of Vietnam has never before been documented in an American film, but if it took this long to do it right, it was worth the wait. Writer/director Ham Tran did countless interviews with Vietnamese refugees and survivors of the re-education camps to make certain his script for Journey from the Fall was authentic. The scenes in the re-education camp are brutal; Tran and his production team had little to work with in the way of historical photographs, and none of the re-education camps exist anymore, so they had to re-create the setting largely from the compiled information they gained from interviewing survivors. Tran interweaves his tale with a Vietnamese tale about Le Loi, Emperor of Vietnam and founder of the Le Dynasty way back in the early 1400s.