Vietnamese-American director brings winning film to town
By Kieu Giang in HCMC
A meeting between Vietnamese-American director Doan Hoang and local filmmakers will take place tomorrow at the information-culture department of the American consulate general at Level 8, Diamond Plaza in HCMC’s District 1.
|Poster of award-winning documentary ‘Oh, Saigon’ - Photo: Courtesy of the organizers|
At the meeting Hoang will share her thoughts on her award-winning autobiographical documentary based on the true story of her family named ‘Sai Gon oi’ (Oh, Saigon). Airlifted out of Vietnam on April 30, 1975, Hoang’s family were on the last civilian helicopter out of the country at the end of the war.
Twenty-five years later, she sets out to uncover her family’s story. The film follows her family as they return to Vietnam, where her father, a former South Vietnamese major, meets his brothers again to confront their political differences: one was a Communist; the other a pacifist.
Meanwhile, Hoang’s mother tries to reconcile with Hoang’s half sister, who was mistakenly separated from the family during the escape. ‘Oh, Saigon’ also hammers home the point that war not only affects soldiers and governments, but also women and children. It also features ordinary people’s strength of character to overcome adversity and the harsh realities of life.
The film was shown in 15 countries in five languages. It won film grants from the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, ITVS (Independent Television Service), the Center for Asian American Media, and the Fund for Reconciliation and Development.
It was also named winner of the Grand Jury Prize the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2008 and the Best Feature Documentary & Best Brooklyn Film at the 42nd Brooklyn Arts Council International Film Festival in 2008.
Hoang wrote a book about the American War in Vietnam aged just nine years old and made her first documentary at twelve. Hoang has worked in the American media for magazines including Details, House & Garden and Spin and Saveur.
She is an active member of the Vietnam Relief Effort which provides scholarships for poor students, build schools and give medical support to natural disaster victims. Apart from ‘Oh, Saigon’, she also made short movies ‘Agent’, ‘Good Morning Captains’, and ‘A Requiem’.