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Journeying Inside Vietnamese American Filmmaking
Six Filmmakers to Gather Nov. 11 in Garden Grove to Discuss Viet Film Wave

Nov. 5, 2007 :: No. 93

The recent proliferation of award-winning features demonstrates the vitality of Vietnamese American filmmaking. That vitality will be the subject of a discussion by six Vietnamese American filmmakers at the Viet Art Center in Garden Grove Nov. 11 from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The Viet Art Center is located at 12965 Main Street in Garden Grove. Admission is free, and the event is open to the public.

The discussion is sponsored by Cal State Fullerton as part of its sponsorship of “Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon,” a Smithsonian exhibition chronicling the growth of “Vietnamese America Since 1975,” on display at the Viet Art Center through Dec. 20.

Hosted by the Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association, the panel discussion promises to bring audience members “Inside Vietnamese American Filmmaking” through an afternoon spent in the company of some of the talented writers, producers and directors who, in the words of the OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley, “will likely dominate Vietnamese American filmmaking for years to come.”

Panelists include Tony Bui, Jenni Trang Le, Le-Van Kiet, Charlie Nguyen, Ham Tran and Victor Vu. The panel will be moderated by Mariam Lam, assistant professor of comparative literature/Vietnamese at the University of California, Riverside, and Tu-Uyen Nguyen, assistant professor of Asian American studies at Cal State Fullerton.

Close friends and colleagues, all six panelists are part of the “Viet film wave”— a young cohort of Vietnamese Americans making a name for themselves with award-winning, feature-length films screened at Sundance, Austin and other stops on the festival circuit. To cite just three:

Charlie Nguyen’s “The Rebel” made its world premiere in Irvine at the Vietnamese International Film Festival in April and won a grand jury award at the L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival last May.

Ham Tran’s “Journey From the Fall” started a nationwide theatrical run in March, after premiering at Sundance and screening at the Newport Beach Film Festival last year.

Victor Vu’s “Spirits” enjoyed a good run on the international film festival circuit in 2004, and “First Morning” won the award for best feature film at the 2005 San Diego Asian Film Festival.

Panelists participating in the Nov. 11 discussion include:
Tony Bui (writer/director/producer) YELLOW LOTUS • THREE SEASONS • GREEN DRAGON
Tony Bui made his feature film debut as writer and director of "Three Seasons" (starring Harvey Keitel), awarded the Grand Jury Prize, Audience Award and Best Cinematography Award at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. He subsequently co-wrote and produced "Green Dragon" (starring Patrick Swayze and Forest Whitaker), which premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and was a recipient of a 2001 Humanitas Award.

Jenni Trang Le (writer/director/producer) JOURNEY FROM THE FALL • OH MOMMY! • THE REBEL
Jenni Trang Le has worked on Ham Tran’s "Journey From the Fall" and on "Holly" (2003, directed by Guy Moshe), "Finding Madison" (2005, directed by Tuan Tran), "Own and the Sparrow" (2006, directed by Stephane Gauger) and most recently, "The Rebel" (2007, directed by Charlie Nguyen). In January 2007, she received the Armed with a Camera Fellowship through Visual Communications, where she wrote, directed and animated a five-minute claymation entitled, “Oh Mommy!”

Le-Van Kiet (writer/director) THE SILENCE • DUST OF LIFE
Le-Van Kiet’s first feature, "Dust of Life,” screened at Austin Film Festival in October 2007 and will be released theatrically in spring 2008.

Charlie Nguyen (producer/writer/director) HUONG VUONG • CHANCES ARE • FINDING MADISON • THE REBEL
Charlie Nguyen’s first feature, Huong Vuong (1994), written and directed by Nguyen, was independently funded and set the tone for exciting pictures that infused history, martial arts and drama. His film credits include "Chances Are" (2002, director/writer) and "Finding Madison" (2005, producer) and upcoming, "The Rebel" (director, co-writer, producer, editor). "The Rebel" received the Grand Jury Award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival 2007 and the Best Audience Choice Award at the Vietnamese International Film Festival 2007.

Ham Tran graduated with a master of fine arts degree in film and television from UCLA, where his thesis film, "The Anniversary,” won more than 30 international awards, including the prestigious USA Film Festival award for Best Short Film. In 2004, “The Anniversary” was a semifinalist for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. Ham’s feature debut, “Journey From the Fall,” world-premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and has garnered more than 10 awards in worldwide film festivals.

Victor Vu (writer/director) FIRST MORNING • SPIRITS
Victor Vu’s feature film debut, “First Morning,” received the Best Feature Film Award at the San Diego Asian Film Festival and was released by Illuminare Entertainment in 2005. His second feature film, a supernatural thriller entitled "Spirits,” premiered at numerous film festivals, including the Bangkok International Film Festival, Singapore International Film Festival and Fantasia Montreal, and was distributed by MonteCristo International.

Media Contact: Christopher Bugbee, Public Affairs, 657-278-8487 or

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