Tagged Vietnamese International Film Festival

ViFF 2009 Wraps Up with Awards to Top Films

VIFF 2009 Winners
VIFF 2009 Winners

April 23, 2009

Trống Đồng Awards went to FOOTY LEGENDS (feature), directed by Khoa Đỗ and A Summer Rain (short), directed by Ela Thier.

Audience Choice Awards went to OPERATION BABYLIFT: The Lost Children of Vietnam (feature), directed by Tammy Nguyễn Lee and Delivery Day (short), directed by Jane Manning.

Irvine, CA-The 4th biennial Vietnamese International Film Festival (ViFF) closed on April 12th to a cheering crowd with the Southern California premiere of ALL ABOUT DAD, a feature debut by Mark Tran. The night went on with a jungle-themed gala. All events took place at the University of California in Irvine (UCI).

Carrying the theme of Into View, the 8-day film festival featured over sixty short and feature films by emerging and established filmmakers from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, and the United States. The event attracted more than 3,000 cinema enthusiasts from all over the world and was extensively covered by international and local press.

The prestigious Trống Đồng Awards were presented to FOOTY LEGENDS (feature), directed by Khoa Đỗ (Australia) and A Summer Rain (short), directed by Ela Thier (USA). “I am thrilled that FOOTY LEGENDS has been awarded the 2009 Vietnamese International Film Festival’s highest honor, the Grand Jury “Trống Đồng” Award in Irvine,” said director Khoa Đỗ. “For an Australian film to be recognized in this way is very rare and on behalf of all Australians back home, we are delighted to accept this award.”

Audience Choice Awards went to OPERATION BABYLIFT: The Lost Children of Vietnam (feature), directed by Tammy Nguyễn Lee and Delivery Day (short), directed by Jane Manning. “Being invited to join the growing Vietnamese American artist community and have our world premiere at VIFF was a huge honor. With the adoptees and Babylift volunteers in attendance, it was truly a special and unique evening. “We are so grateful for the warm reception we received at VIFF and even more thrilled to receive the Audience Choice Award,” producer/director Tammy Nguyễn Lee said.

ViFF also presented the Spotlight Award to actor Dustin Nguyễn to celebrate the great achievements that mark his acting career. The award was handed to Dustin Nguyễn by the renowned actress Kiều Chinh.

ViFF was spread throughout Southern California with screenings at UC Irvine’s Film and Video Center and Edwards University Cinema 6, both in Irvine, UCLA in Los Angeles, CA, and Bowers Museum, Santa Ana.

ViFF is presented by the two non-profit organizations Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association (VAALA) and UCLA’s Vietnamese Language and Culture (VNLC). ViFF was established in October 2003 to showcase Vietnamese and Vietnamese Diasporic filmmakers. ViFF’s mission is to support, celebrate, and project a diversity of visions and voices from filmmakers of Vietnamese descent and films by, for, and about the Vietnamese people and culture.

ViFF is made possible by sponsorships/support of: Ford Foundation; UC Irvine (School of Humanities, Department of Film and Media Studies, Film and Video Center, Community & Government Relations, UCI Advancement,Vietnamese American Community Ambassadors (VACA), Department of Asian American Studies, International Center for Writing and Translation (ICWT), Cross Cultural Center, Vietnamese American Coalition (VAC), Vietnamese Student Association(VSA), Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA), UCLA’s Campus Programs Committee of the Program Activities Board, Campus Programs Committee of the Program Activities Board, Undergraduate Student Association (USAC); Bowers Museum, Wells Fargo, Union Bank, State Farm, Dr. & Mrs. Jan Vilcek, Jayvee Hiep Mai, Elite Insurance, Nguyet Cam Music, Wave Releasing, Chakra Restaurant, DTN-Tech, Karuna Healthcare, White Knight International, Inc., St. Anselm’s Cross Cultural Community Center…

Media sponsors: VAN-TV, VHN-TV, LA18 (KSCI), VNCR, QMS Media Group, Little Saigon Radio, Hon Viet TV, Viet Tide, Saigon TV, VBS TV, OC Life Magazine….

Co-presenters: American Red Cross – Orange County Chapter, API Equality-LA, Asian Pacific American Program, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., Asian Pacific Legal Center Asian Pacific Student Association (APSA) at UC Irvine, Club O’ Noodles, Hawaii International Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian, Pacific Film Festival, Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (OCAPICA), Project MotiVATe (MotivatingVietnamese American Teens), San Diego Asian Film Festival, St. Anselm’s Cross-Cultural Community Center, The Cambodian Family, UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation (VACF), Vietnamese American Coalition (VAC) at UC Irvine, Vietnamese American Community Ambassadors (VACA) at UC Irvine, Vietnamese American Law Student Association at Chapman University School of Law (VALSA), Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans (VAYLA-NO), Vietnamse Student Association (VSA) at UC Irvine.

"OPERATION BABYLIFT: THE LOST CHILDREN OF VIETNAM" WINS VIFF AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD!

Adoptees and Babylift volunteers with Tammy Nguyen Lee (Producer/Director) and George Lee (Executive Producer) at the world premiere of "Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam."
Adoptees and Babylift volunteers with Tammy Nguyen Lee (Producer Director) and George Lee (Executive Producer) at the world premiere of "Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam."

OPERATION BABYLIFT: THE LOST CHILDREN OF VIETNAM CELEBRATES SUCCESSFUL DEBUT AT THE 2009 VIETNAMESE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Documentary Wins the Coveted VIFF Audience Choice Award

DALLAS, TX, April 15, 2009 – On Friday, April 3, 2009 ATG Against the Grain Productions premiered Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam at the Vietnamese International Film Festival (VIFF) in Santa Ana, California to a packed theatre at the Bowers Museum.  The feature documentary, described as “amazing…compelling and hard hitting” by Bolsavik.com, details the 1975 United States airlift of over 2,500 Vietnamese orphans during the tumultuous time leading up to the Fall of Saigon. The film was recently given the coveted Audience Choice Award over other highly regarded films.

Producer/Director Tammy Nguyen Lee says:  “Being invited to join the growing Vietnamese American artist community and have our world premiere at VIFF was a huge honor.  With the adoptees and Babylift volunteers in attendance, it was truly a special and unique evening. We are so grateful for the warm reception we received at VIFF and even more thrilled to receive the Audience Choice Award. It means a lot to all of us, especially screening among a group of so many wonderful films, and knowing that this was the film that touched peoples’ hearts.”

Several cast members were delighted with the success of the premiere. Bert Ballard, an adoptee who flew in from Waterloo, Ontario, says, “I am very excited that Ms. Lee’s film was selected for the VIFF Audience Choice Award.  This selection represents the importance of Operation Babylift and the experiences of adopted Vietnamese persons to the Vietnamese American community. I look forward to future opportunities where this film can open up dialogue and share with others the experiences of adopted persons of Operation Babylift.”

Lieutenant Commander and adoptee Mark Slavik attended the screening from Seattle, Washington and said, “Watching this documentary brought back emotions and memories of a time that I almost forgot.  Growing up I just didn’t have a good understanding or maturity to acknowledge my past.  Again, this documentary… really helped me to reconnect with my past.  This is a truly positive experience for me and it is a great honor to be a part of this history.”

Los Angeles based adoptee and cast member DC Wolfe adds, “It is wonderful to know that there is still an interest in real stories that present all aspects of life–struggles, joy, heartache and support. Since being involved with the film, I have discovered a kinship in fellow adoptees. I commend VIFF for believing in the film and respect Tammy for her hard work and believing in our journey.”

Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam tells the significant yet untold story of the $2 million dollar US initiative that airlifted over 2,500 Vietnamese orphans out of a war-torn country to protect them from the impending threat of the Communist regime.  These adoptees grew up facing unique challenges in America, including prejudice overshadowed by a controversial war and cultural identity crisis.  Featuring compelling and insightful interviews of the volunteers, parents, and organizations directly involved, the movie takes a contemporary look at Babylift and its relevance to international adoption today.  The feature documentary was a passionate team effort that took over 4 years to produce and is currently making its way through the film festival circuit. For more information, please visit www.TheBabylift.com

Dallas based non profit ATG Against the Grain Productions was formed to promote Asian American cultural awareness through compelling media projects, while also raising funds for international orphanages.  For more information, please visit www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com

"Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam" World Premiere at VIFF

After four long years, we are so happy to announce that “Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam” is finished and will world premiere at the Vietnamese International Film Festival at 7:30pm Friday, April 3rd at the beautiful Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA. There will be a Q&A and reception afterwards.  We hope that you can make it if you’re in the neighborhood. Tickets are available for $8 at the VIFF website!

Below is an article from The Orange County Register promoting the festival:

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Vietnamese film festival returns to O.C.

More than 60 movies from seven countries on tap April 2-5 and 9-12.

The Orange County Register
The fourth Vietnamese International Film Festival gets under way Thursday with a movie about a war-torn family that finds redemption through rugby.
“Footy Legends,” a Vietnamese Australian movie directed by Khoa Do and starring Anh Do, will screen at Edwards University 6 in Irvine and kick off the biennial film festival, which runs April 2-5 and 9-12 in Irvine and Los Angeles.
More than 60 films are scheduled for the growing fest, called “ViFF” by organizers and participants. This year’s theme is “Into View,” and the emerging and established filmmakers in the program hail from seven different countries.
“It’s a very broad theme, actually,” said Ysa Le, co-director of the film fest, which started in October 2003. “We were hoping we’d get films to engage the audience. Indeed, the films will bring out a lot of issues. A lot of the films are documentaries this year.”
After opening night, most screenings will take place at UC Irvine and UCLA. For the first time, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana will serve as a ViFF venue, hosting a free high school day on April 3 and a free senior citizens day on April 10.
Other highlights include: the world premiere April 3 of “Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam” at the Bowers, with some adoptees present; the world premiere April 4 of “Sad Fish,” directed by Le-Van Kiet (“Dust of Life”) and starring Orange County resident Kieu Chinh (“The Joy Luck Club,” “Journey From the Fall”) and Long Nguyen (also from “Journey From the Fall”).
On April 11, ViFF will present a Spotlight Award to actor and former Orange County resident Dustin Nguyen, best known for playing Officer Harry Ioki in the TV series “21 Jump Street.” Recently, Nguyen played a villain in “The Rebel,” the opening film of the 2007 Vietnamese International Film Festival. Following the award ceremony, ViFF will screen 2005’s “Little Fish,” starring Nguyen, Cate Blanchett, Sam Neil and Hugo Weaving.
“All About Dad,” written and directed by Mark Tran, will close the festival on April 12.
This year, there will be four free panel discussions: “Crossing Boundaries: Female Filmmakers and Questions of Genre and Gender” on April 5; “Combating Human Trafficking: How Can You Help?” on April 5; “Rebuilding the Community Post-Katrina” on April 11; and “Reel to Real: International Networks” on April 12.
ViFF is presented by two nonprofit organizations – the Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association and UCLA’s Vietnamese Language and Culture. The festival has become one of the nation’s largest gatherings for Vietnamese cinema, a launching pad for aspiring filmmakers, as well as a popular social event for local Vietnamese Americans.
Film is “a way to share the stories with a lot of people,” Le said. “Nowadays, technology is very effective. One of the best ways to tell our story is through this art.”
About 4,000 people attended the festival in 2007, and organizers are hoping to match or exceed that number this year. Tickets are $8 general, $6 for seniors and students. Special events cost more.
For more information, call 714-893-6145 or visit www.VietFilmFest.com.