FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Easthampton, Mass. (February 1, 2022) – For Women’s History Month this March, Right Hand Man Productions is proud to announce the streaming and DVD release of their award-winning film, “The Donut Dollies.” This documentary tells the story of 627 college graduate women who, through a sense of patriotism and inquisitiveness about the truth of the Vietnam War, chose to volunteer through a Red Cross program called Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas (SRAO). Their mission was to boost morale and provide a sense of hope and support to our troops. They were affectionately known as Donut Dollies, a nickname handed down father to son by those who served during World War II and the Korean War.
This documentary features two best friends who joined this program and follows them on their return to Vietnam for the first time in 46 years. The film presents memories from over a dozen women and veterans who served during the Vietnam War, along with hundreds of archival photos and vintage 8mm film. Alternatingly heartbreaking and hilarious, this “buddy film“ features Donut Dollies Dorset Hoogland Anderson of Cummington, MA and her best friend Mary Blanchard Bowe (deceased 2021) of Schertz, TX as they travel to the locations of the former military bases they lived on, hoping to access the sites and unlock long forgotten memories.
Many of the women who served in this program chose to hide the true stories of their experiences in Vietnam from their families and friends following their return home. Some for decades after. During their year in-country, Donut Dollies experienced the horrors of the Vietnam War just like our servicemen, including the danger of incoming fire on base and in flight while visiting men on frontline firebases. As their service was in a civilian capacity, the Donut Dollies were not eligible for Veterans Administration benefits, and many struggled years later with the effects of Agent Orange exposure and PTSD. During the seven years of the SRAO program in Vietnam (1965-72), three young women died in-country, one at the hands of a serviceman.
The origins of this film dates back almost 25 years, when the film’s director, Norm Anderson, first learned about his mother’s service as a Donut Dollie in Vietnam. He began to document her stories for his family through home movies, but as the stories deepened through meeting other women who served, he assembled a crew to film in Vietnam to tell the little known story of the Donut Dollies. Norm explains “This project began as a labor of love for my favorite Donut Dollie – my Mom (Dorset). But it grew into a mission to celebrate and preserve the stories of her 600+ Donut Dollie sisters, as well.”
“The Donut Dollies” won the award for Best Documentary Feature at the G.I. Film Festival and received nominations in Best Documentary (twice), Best Director Feature, Best Musical Score and People’s Choice categories at film festivals around the country. Both the online download/stream and the DVD feature 35-minutes of bonus materials including previously unseen interviews, memorabilia, photos and film footage, along with a nearly 15-minute photo montage depicting a few hundred Donut Dollies who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.