LOST AUSTRALIAN SON – SEAN FLYNN
TURNS 65 TODAY
(Wednesday 31ST May 2006)
(please distribute far and wide)
Son of the legendary Errol Flynn turns 65 today, or he would have if he had returned from the Vietnam War.
Flynn arrived in Saigon in early â€™66 after acting in a string of â€˜Bâ€™ grade movies and few took him seriously. He was determined to become a serious photojournalist, but living beneath the giant shadow of his father was to become his great burden.
Sean Flynn came from an adventurous Australian dynasty. His grandfather, Theodore Flynn, was professor of Biology at Tasmania University and accompanied Douglas Mawson on his Antarctic expedition of 1912 as the shipâ€™s scientist.
Seanâ€™s father Errol had worked the frontier of Australiaâ€™s â€˜Pacific Wild Westâ€™ in the Papuan and New Guinean colonies. All three Flynnâ€™s were searchers â€“ explorers with a lust for life. Theodore was caught between Catholicism and Darwinism, Errol between Dionysian excess and artistic questioning, while Sean found himself equally drawn to warfare and Eastern religion.
It was in Saigon, where Sean had been sent by PARIS MATCH on assignment (but in reality to help boost morale and change public sentiment about the war) that he teamed up with a small band of brothers. He moved in with photographer Tim Page in the now infamous â€˜Frankieâ€™s Houseâ€™ (also a movie made by ABC in the late â€˜90s based on the autobiography of Tim). The movie now has a cult following around the globe.
After nearly 5 years of covering war, including the Arab â€“ Israeli Six Day War and the Communist Emergency in Borneo, and with his best friend, Tim Page (severely wounded in the head from an anti-tank mine) Sean thought his luck might also be running out. So following in his fathers footsteps, he set out to PNG and photographed the then little known Dani tribes people. While holidaying Bali he fell in love and turned to Eastern religion.
He went back to Saigon to clear out his flat at the same time as Kissinger and Nixon decided to start bombing Cambodia. Dana Stone, another photographer friend of Flynn and Pageâ€™s had also thought his luck was running out, but heard that Flynn was in Saigon and considering doing â€˜just one moreâ€™. They met up in Phnom Penh.
On the morning of April 6th 1970, on bright red motorcycles, dubbing themselves â€œQueasy Ridersâ€ they headed off down Highway One looking for the mysterious Khmer Rouge and met a destiny that they may have been headed for all along. They were never seen again. Another 19 journalists and photographers met the same fate in 21 days.
In 1990 Tim page along with a crew from Granada television set out to discover their fate in a documentary called â€œDanger on the Edge of Townâ€. It produced answers, more questions and over time people have come forward with information about the terrible fate they suffered at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. It also led Page to establish the Indochina Media Memorial Foundation (www.immf.org), to honour the 135 photographers who died from both sides of the conflict. He also produced a book of their work with Horst Faas called â€œREQUIEMâ€, widely acknowledged as being the best book on the Vietnam War.
Page is now working with Sydney based producers on an updated version of their fate. With time passed and some wounds healed, Cambodians now feel safe to talk about the â€˜long hairedâ€™ men that were passed from village to village to escape the carpet bombing of American B52â€™s.
Sean and Dana would be happy to know that their work is going on display in New York along with images by Tim Page at the Silverstein Gallery in Chelsea for the month of June.
Sean, a lost Australian son would also be quietly proud that he made his name not as a â€˜Bâ€™ grade actor but as a very good photojournalist whose images are now held by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and imagery.
2006-05-30 01:27:49 UTC
Sep 24 2008