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Director:  Sara Vladic

Producer: Melanie Capacia Johnson

Genre:  Documentary; WWII


Based on the largest collection of original source material available on the subject, The Legacy Project is a complete re-telling of the story of USS Indianapolis, told first hand, by those who lived through the experience. You can check out our Facebook Page, and the YouTube link to see the trailer, and find out about upcoming events, screenings and release dates.



The survivor’s organization has enthusiastically endorsed filmmaker Sara Vladic, giving her their full trust, and their unconditional support. With 30+ survivors assigning her their life rights (there were 70 plus who had given their life-rights to Sara, but many have died in the last few years), this is considered to be the first fully supported documentary, told almost entirely from the perspective of the USS Indianapolis survivors themselves.



I became intrigued by the USS Indianapolis story when I was about 13 years old. I couldn't believe it was a real event when I heard about it, so I immediately went to my local library, and started searching. There was little information to be found, but it was indeed a true story. I thought it would make a great movie, and I couldn't wait to see it come to the screen. After graduating college and realizing nobody had told the story yet, or at least not done it justice, I began reaching out to the USS Indianapolis survivors--and the journey began. That was nearly 15 years ago. I never imagined that the research materials I gathered in order to write a screenplay would someday turn into a full-length documentary. At the start, I simply wanted to get the story right, and I knew I had to interview the men that lived it.


Going through so many years of filming (over 170 hours and 107 interviews) proved to be quite the challenge, especially with technology changing so much over time, but by providence, and a little serendipity, it all came together. This film tells the true story of the USS Indianapolis with only first-hand accounts by those who lived it. Throughout this incredible adventure I have made some of the best friends I've ever known, and have been adopted by the survivors and their families as a granddaughter and keeper of their legacy. It was for them that I made it through this rocky roller-coaster of a process, and for them that I'll keep fighting to make sure the story is told as it should be. It's so much more than just a cheap thriller about a massive shark attack. My hope is that when viewers finish watching this film, they will have a complete understanding of those final days of the war. I want them to know the survivors, and to understand how ordinary 17 and 18 year old kids fought and paid the price for their freedom.



A lot has changed since we started this project...When Sara began filming these interviews, George Bush was president, the first iPhone was still two years away from being invented, and there was no such thing as HDTV.


9 Different cameras were used to capture the interviews over the years, and similar to TVs, HD was not yet an option for filming. We used:

AVCHD: Canon, Panasonic

MiniDV: Canon GL2

DVCPro50: DVCPro50 A, DVCPro50 B

P2: Panasonic HVX100, Panasonic HVX200 A, Panasonic HVX200 B

SxS: Sony PMW-200



When the interviews began in 2005, there were more than a hundred USS Indianapolis survivors still living. As of July 2018, there are 14 living survivors across the United States. The youngest survivor today is 91 years old.



The states we traveled to (mostly via road trip) in order to visit the survivors and rescuers at their home and conduct the interviews:

Streaming on


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