The Big City


The Battle of Long Tan was fought on 18 August 1966. It is the most famous Australian engagement during the Vietnam war and was responsible for the greatest number of Australian caualties from any one engagement of the Vietnam war. It has become an important part of Australian cultural history. To mark the 52nd anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan, the Australian War Memorial commissioned long-term clients Mental Media to create a program that looks at the history of the "Long Tan Cross".


An ambitious project, The Battle of Long Tan was a re-enactment filmed in far north Queensland because the landscape is almost impossible to distinguish from the terrain of Phuoc Tuy province where the Australian base was located at Nui Dat. The project, created in 2006, was subject to the scrupulous attention of historical experts and monitored every step of the way for accuracy. Difficulties encountered during production included the presence of sunlight in many of the shots which had to be removed as it was late afternoon and a monsoonal downpour during the battle. Much of the smoke from shells and smoke canisters had to be composited, historical accuracy required changing smoke colour from red to yellow using grading and roto-scoping. Despite the challenges the project came out on top and is one of CBD's proudest accomplishments, featuring heavily in the media and returning much positive feedback from the committee, the clients and the public. It is on display at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra along with other CBD/Mental Media projects such as a "Digital Diorama" of the attack on Maryang San in the Korean War, an installation of the Bridge of the HMAS Brisbane, and an installation of Combat Assault and Dust off Operations of an Iroquois Helicopter used in the Vietnam War.

Excerpt from cinematographer Preston Clothier's Dec 2008 email:

I'm writing to advise that Letter from Long Tan achieved a Bronze Award at the
Queensland "Awards for Cinematography" held on the Gold Coast, November 15, 2008. Regards Preston