Eternal Harvest

Nominated for

Best First-Time Filmmaker

Directed by

Jerry Redfern & Karen Coates

72' • United States • 2021

English

In 2017, 10-year-old Ia Yang found a small American bomb on the roadside in Laos. She thought it was a ball, but when she threw it, it exploded, killing her instantly and injuring 12 others. Half a century after the US waged history’s largest bombing campaign, an estimated 80 million unexploded bombs remain in the Laotian soil today. Old American bombs have killed and injured more than 20,000 civilians since the end of war. Laotians work daily to clear the land, but it’s a painstakingly slow process that desperately needs more money. The US spent $50 billion to bomb the country more than 40 years ago, yet it has spent only $300 million to clean it up in the decades since. Only one American—a retired school principal from Wisconsin named Jim Harris—works on the ground in Laos to remove old bombs. Through the intersecting stories of Laotian families, clearance workers, government authorities, and Harris’ team, Eternal Harvest traces the failures of US foreign policy to clean up America’s postwar mess in Laos, and it underscores the urgent need for more funding.