Tag: Jared Rehberg

OPERATION BABYLIFT screens this Friday 4/23 at NYU

The Asian/Pacific/American Institute of New York University will host a screening and discussion of the award-winning documentary Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm this Friday, April 23rd at the Cantor Film Center, located at 36 East 8th Street, Theater 101, New York .  The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. RSVP via the A/P/A Institute website, email apa.rsvp@nyu.edu or call 212-992-9653.

Operation Babylift was a $2 million U.S. initiative that airlifted more than 2,500 Vietnamese orphans out of a war-torn country in 1975 to protect them from the impending threat of the Communist regime. Called one of the “most humanitarian efforts in history,” it was plagued by lawsuits and political turmoil.

The documentary, released in 2009, takes a candid look at Operation Babylift as seen through the eyes of the volunteers, parents and organizations directly involved. It uncovers the lost stories of the adoptees and who they have become as adults, revealing their compelling struggles and triumphs and giving them the opportunity to finally share their journeys from their perspectives.

This event celebrates the 35th anniversary of Operation Babylift and joins conversations about child rescue and adoption that have intensified in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti. A post-screening panel will discuss Operation Babylift as well as the issues faced by adoptees from Asia.

Panelists include:

Tammy Nguyen Lee, Filmmaker, Operation Babylift

Jared Rehberg, Associate Producer and adoptee participant, Operation Babylift

Tara Leaman, Associate Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and adoptee participant, Operation Babylift

Marissa Martin, President of Also-Known-As, Inc.

Lili Johnson, NYU Student, Dept of Social & Cultural Analysis, and adoptee from China

Moderated by Laura Chen-Schultz, Deputy Director, A/P/A Institute at NYU

The screening is made possible by support from the NYU Center for Media, Culture and History/Center for Religion and Media .Co-sponsored by Familes with Children from China of Greater New York and Also Known As, Inc.

To RSVP, visit the A/P/A Institute Operation Babylift Event Page.

More information about the documentary is available at TheBabylift.com.

OPERATION BABYLIFT: THE LOST CHILDREN OF VIETNAM to Screen at 35th Anniversary Celebration of Operation Babylift

DALLAS, TX –The 35th anniversary celebration of Operation Babylift will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 24 at the New Jersey Vietnam Era Educational Center in Holmdel, New Jersey. Dallas-based nonprofit organization ATG Against the Grain Productions will provide a community screening of its award-winning documentary Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam at 1 p.m. in the Testimony Theater. Filmmaker Tammy Nguyen Lee will join adoptee and associate producer Jared Rehberg in a Q&A following.

Operation Babylift is Tammy Nguyen Lee’s feature directorial debut and tells the story of how more than 2,500 orphans were airlifted out of Vietnam during the last days of the Vietnam War and their tumultuous journey growing up in America.  The documentary incorporates a historical and contemporary view of this little known and controversial part of American history in 1975, featuring compelling interviews from a cross-section of adoptees, their parents and volunteers, as well as archival and rare home video footage.

“This is a very special celebration that brings together so many who were affected by Operation Babylift,” said Tammy Nguyen Lee. “We are grateful to be a part of this event that remembers such an important part of our history.”

“The 35th anniversary of Operation Babylift is a special time for adoptees to reflect on their past and think about their unique journey from Vietnam to America,” said Jared Rehberg.

“I believe the April 24th program is a culmination of the Operation Babylift Diaspora, 35 years later. This is a program that will be informative, insightful, enjoyable and a once-in-a-lifetime assemblage of Vietnamese adoptees (VADs), OB participants, and Vietnam Veterans,” said Lana Noone, adoptee mother and moderator of the event. “I’m delighted we’ll screen Tammy’s film, and the speakers we’ve assembled will give voice to several perspectives on OB. It’s truly a “not-to-be-missed” event for all!” For more details about the event, visit www.njvvmf.org/35thanniversaryofbabylift.

ATG Against The Grain Productions, a Dallas-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, promotes Asian-American cultural awareness through compelling media projects and raises funds for international orphanages. Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam has received the Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film at the Vietnamese International Film Festival and the Documentary Audience Choice Award from the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival. For more information, visit www.AgainstTheGrainProductions.com or www.TheBabylift.com

OPERATION BABYLIFT Screens Twice in the Windy City

Non-profit ATG Against the Grain Productions proudly presents Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam twice in Chicago this April.

The film makes its city premiere at the 15th Annual FAAIM Chicago Asian American Showcase, screening at 3:15 pm on Sunday, April 11th at the Gene Siskel Film Center, located at 164 N. State Street in Downtown.

“Operation Babylift” was a $2 million U.S. 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.  Even with the best intentions, these adoptees grew up facing a unique set of challenges in America, including prejudice overshadowed by a controversial war and cultural identity crisis. Nearly thirty five years later, this documentary takes a candid look at a significant, yet untold event as seen through the eyes of the volunteers, parents, and organizations directly involved, and features compelling and insightful interviews from a cross-section of adoptees and Babylift volunteers.

Film festival director, Tim Hugh, notes how this year’s festival features three films on adoption told from unique and different perspectives. Operation Babylift is a contemporary look at Babylift and its relevance to international adoption today through the eyes of the adoptees themselves.  “We’re pleased to be able to present Operation Babylift to the Chicagoland area, not just for the Vietnamese community, but also to help educate our other communities and people to the struggles, and the rich, complex stories the Vietnamese in America have,” said Hugh.

Ticket and screening information is available at http://www.faaim.org.

Operation Babylift has an encore showing the following weekend at 5:30 pm on Saturday,  April 17th, sponsored by the Loyola VASA and API Committees and co-sponsored by FCVN Chicago.  The free admission community screening takes place at Loyola’s Lake Shore campus in the Simpson Living-Learning Center , located at 6333 N. Winthrop Avenue.  Filmmaker Tammy Nguyen Lee and cast member/adoptee Jared Rehberg will be in attendance for the Q&A following the screening.

For more information on how to attend the Loyola University community screening, visit http://luc.edu/diversity/api_heritage_month.shtml

An Lac Orphans Reunite at Fort Benning

As the anniversary of Operation Babylift approaches, reunions are taking place across the country and the world. Adoptees from An Lac joined Betty Tisdale in Fort Benning, Georgia.  Board member and adoptee Jared Rehberg blogs about his experience:
It had been 15 years since the last An Lac Orphanage Reunion I attended. For many adoptees, this was their first reunion in 35 years.
The last time we were together was in Saigon, Vietnam in an orphanage called An Lac, “Happy Place.”  We gathered in Columbus, Georgia to say thank you to Betty Tisdale and honor her life work.  Adoptees flew in from around the country to meet the woman who cared for them and worked hard to help ensure them a better life in the U.S.
We loaded city buses donated by the city of Columbus to visit the grave site of An Lac’s founder, Madame Vu Ngai. Madame Vu Ngai travelled from north Vietnam finding orphans on the street and bringing them to Saigon. The story of An Lac’s creation and the journey Madame Ngai took to open An Lac was just the beginning of so many missing pieces of my past.
I know I will never know everything, but the small nuggets of history will remain close to my heart and mind for the rest of my life. Our group stopped by the Fort Benning airfield where our planes landed with crying babies and the hope for a better life and for many better health.
We got a short tour of the grade school that was once a nursery for sick and well babies from An Lac. I paused to remember all the volunteers that cared for me and the babies that never left the base.
The final stop was at the new Fort Bennning museum. Betty Tisdale was presented with words of praise, historic accounts and the official announcement of Betty Tisdale Day in Columbus, Georgia on March 27th. There was an emotional story shared by one of the army soldiers in 1975. He spoke about the time he spent in Vietnam playing with the children of foster homes and orphanages. When the U.S. left Vietnam, he recalls missing the time he shared with them. The news came in April of 1975 that many children were being sent to his base. He was so happy to be part of caring for the children of An Lac.

Betty was surprised by a representative from Johnson & Johnson who came to honor her life work. Many years ago, Betty would call Johnson & Johnson for diapers and supplies for the orphanage. She never stopped calling, the children were her priority. Johnson & Johnson came through and delivered her much needed supplies. Johnson & Johnson gave the adoptees a special copy of the company credo as a reminder of their commitment to every human being.
The evening closed with a banquet filled with delicious southern food, more stories and tons of pictures. I shared a special moment with Betty when I took to the stage to perform a song I wrote about my journey as an adoptee, “Waking Up American.”
I’m so glad I came down to honor someone so special and inspirational in my life. I always look forward to hearing from Betty and see the smile on her face when I call her mom #2.
As I left for the airport I was happy to know that I made a few new friends with whom I share a special piece of American history. Thanks to social media websites like Facebook, we will be sharing pictures and stories for many years to come.
To see news coverage of the Operation Babylift An Lac reunion, visit the Fox4News.com website!


Thank you to the Epoch Times for mentioning Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam at the Asian Pacific American Festival in Washington D.C. You can view the original article here.

DC Film Festival Celebrates 10 Years of Giving Voice to Asian Americans

By Ronny Dory
Epoch Times Staff Oct 6, 2009

Tara Linh Leaman (left), Associate Producer of Operation Baby Lift: The Lost Children of Vietnam, Jared Rehberg (center), and Director of Parallel Adele, Adele Pham (right) speak at the 10th anniversary of DCAPA Film Festival in Washington, D.C. (Ronny Dory/The Epoch Times)
WASHINGTON―The Asian Pacific American (DCAPA) Film Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary presenting a 10 day festival featuring films directed, produced by or starring Americans of Asian Pacific Islander descent and other Asian Diaspora in locations throughout Washington, D.C from Oct. 1 through Oct. 10.

This year’s DCAPA Film Festival presents over 20 documentary and feature films, over 50 short films, and two workshops and panel discussions.

“We want to provide an outlet to help [Asian American film makers] make it to the next step, whether that means finding a distributor for their films or connecting with other film makers that they can work with,” said Anna Petrillo president of the APA Film, Inc. Board of Directors.

It is part of the DCAPA Film festival mission to bring attention to the creative outputs of Asian Pacific Americans (APA) and to raise awareness and act as catalyst for discussion of issues facing APA communities.

This year’s festival opened with a screening of the documentary film 9500 Liberty directed by Annebel Park and acclaimed director Eric Byler (Charlotte Sometimes, Americanese). 9500 Liberty presents a battle between citizens and elected officials over immigration-related policies in Prince William County, Virginia, outside of Washington, D.C.

Other films presented at the festival include Parallel Adele, a short film about two Adeles, two half- Vietnamese women, working on similar projects of self discovery, self perception, societal acceptance and life as American children of immigrants; Operation Baby Lift: Lost Children of Vietnam, a documentary film which introduces the now grown- up children of “Operation Baby lift” a U.S. led initiative  that airlifted more than 2,500 orphans, many of the biracial children of American soldiers and Vietnamese women, out of Vietnam on the eve of the fall of Saigon in April 1975.

Another film at the festival is Project Kashmir, a documentary film which follows directors Senain Kheshgi and Geeta V. Patel into the Kashmir region, where they attempt to understand the causes of the conflict, war, and terrorism that engulfs the region surrounded by Pakistan, India, and China. All three films were well attended at the Freer and Sackler Gallery Meyer Auditorium.

The festival is dedicated to George C. Lin, founder of the DCAPA film festival, who passed away on Oct. 14, 2008 at age 37 of a rare lifelong disease. Since 2003, Lin was the Associate Festival Director for the San Diego Asian Film Foundation. Prior to his involvement in the Arts, Lin was in the science profession.

“We have grown every year and now have over 50 volunteers,” said Anna Petrillo.
This year’s festival was entirely staffed by volunteers that spent a year preparing for the festival. Film screenings are being held at noted locations including: the Landmark E Street Cinema, Freer & Sackler Gallery of Art Meyer Auditorium, The Navy Memorial Theatre, the Canadian Embassy, and the Goethe-Institut, the German Cultural center: a forum for films, discussion, reading art and language.

Ann Tran, volunteer programmer for the DCAPA, described one the best features of the DCAPA to be diversity of the films, telling stories from East Asian and South East Asian communities. “The festival is a good activism focal point for me,” said Tran, describing how the festival unites her interest in entertainment and Asian American culture. Ms. Tran is also a student at George Washington University.

This year’s festival also marks the first recipient of the George C. Lin Emerging Filmmaker Award which will be presented to Tze Chun, director of Children of Invention, a family drama about economic hardship and the pursuit of the American dream. Children of Invention will be screened on the closing night of the festival at the Goethe-Institut followed by a scheduled Q&A with the director and a reception.

The George C. Lin Emerging Film Maker Award was established to recognize young and talented filmmakers that have shown a commitment to filmmaking with in the Asian and Asian American genre.

The DC APA Film Festival continues up to Oct. 10. For more information and a complete film schedule, visit http://www.apafilm.org.


OPERATION BABYLIFT: THE LOST CHILDREN OF VIETNAM to Screen at the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival

DC Asian Pacific Film Festival Oct 1-10, 2009
DC Asian Pacific Film Festival Oct 1-10, 2009

DALLAS, TX – On Sunday, October 4th Dallas based non-profit ATG Against the Grain Productions is honored to present Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam during the 10th Annual DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival (DC APA).  The award-winning documentary described as “Amazing…compelling and hard hitting,” by Bolsavik.com screens at 12 noon at the Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art located at 12th & Jefferson Drive in Washington, DC. Adoptee cast members Jared Rehberg and Tara Leaman will be in attendance for the Q&A.

Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam tells the significant, yet untold story of the $2 million U.S. initiative that airlifted over 2,500 Vietnamese orphans out of a war-torn country 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 documentary takes a contemporary look at Operation Babylift and its relevance to international adoption today.

Tad Doyle, Director of Programming for the DC Asian Pacific American Film, said “Operation Babylift reveals the human consequences of conflict and the sometimes tragic choices forced upon families and individuals.  Through incisive interviews and archival footage, the history of this airlift and its aftermath are presented in complex, rich detail. The DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival is proud to present this little known story of survival and hope.”

Producer/Director Tammy Nguyen Lee, a graduate from UCLA’s Producers Program, adds, “It is an honor to screen at the Smithsonian. We are excited to be included in this year’s DC APA and look forward to the opportunity to bring this powerful story to a broader audience.”

Tammy Nguyen Lee fled Saigon with her mother more than 30 years ago.  A UCLA film major graduate Lee founded ATG Against the Grain Productions 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.
Tickets and show times to the screening are available at http://www.apafilm.org/festival-2009/tickets/.

2009 Colorado Heritage Camp

Hi ATG Family!

Even with the loss of our dear friend Heather Reu in June, this year’s camp turned out to be very special. Heather Reu lived for children. She worked at the youth camp and taught Sunday school. And when doctors told Reu and her husband they couldn’t have children of their own, Reu and her husband adopted four children who were living in foster homes in Vietnam or China.

Heather must have provided the sunny weather and cool nights. They named the Thursday night potluck dinner, “The Heather Reu Potluck dinner”. Phil (Heather’s husband) and their 4 kids returned to camp, surrounded by love and support.

It was so great to see all the kids from last year and catch up. I love hearing stories about their past year away from camp. I was also so grateful and honored to be joined by a small group of adult adoptees: Trista Goldberg, Kevin Maes, Tricia Houston and Ethan Brady. We shared our stories and experiences in 2 unique workshops with 4 total sessions. We played the first 10 minutes of our film OB and made new fans for ATG.


It was great to speak to the adoptive parents. The love for their kids and concerns of being good parents warms my heart everytime. Saturday evening, we opened our cabin up to the high school group and made a big spagetti and meatball dinner. We talked about everything! It was a blast.


On Saturday night at the annual gala, I took to the stage for one of my favorite performances of the year.


I look forward to returning next year to the camps new location, Estes Park, CO. I look forward to seeing old and new families. This next year will be the anniversary of Operation Babylift, and with that so many are excited to meet new adult adoptees and see Tammy’s completed film. I hope filmmaker, Tammy Nguyen Lee, will be there personally to share her experiences making the film.


OPERATION BABYLIFT Dallas Premiere Tickets on Sale Now!

Tickets for the Dallas Premiere of Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam at the inaugural filmAsiafest can now be purchased online at the Crow Collection of Asian Art website!

The film will screen at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 25th at the Dallas Museum Art. Stay after for the Q&A with filmmaker Tammy Nguyen Lee and adoptee Jared Rehberg.

But don’t forget about Cocktails for a Cause!

Cocktails 09 Flier

After the screening, head over to the Dallas Center for Architecture (just across the highway) for Cocktails for a Cause charity event, benefiting ATG Against The Grain Productions’ charity outreach initiatives and orphanages in Vietnam. Join us for tasty sips, yummy desserts, musical entertainment by Jared Rehberg and Mina Chang, DJ stylings by DJ Prada G and chances to win awesome raffle prizes. The event features a special one-night-only exhibit of work for auction by Asian American photographers from all over the U.S, including:

Advance reservations are required – $10 (screening guests), $20 (Regular) and $25 (At the door). Space is limited. Go now to the ATG website to donate and reserve your place!

Going Against The Grain: Jared Rehberg

Jared Rehberg, musician, Babylift adoptee and newlywed, took a moment to sit down with us to discuss his past, present and upcoming album.

Jared Rehberg performing in New York City
Jared Rehberg performing in NYC.

Full name:

Jared Evan Vu Tien Anh Rehberg


I was born somewhere around Saigon, Vietnam in 1974 and was brought to An Lac orphanage under the care of Betty Tisdale and Madam Vu Ngai.  I was adopted in 1975 during Operation Babylift and spent my childhood in Northborough, Massachusetts.

Current Residence:

Woodside, Queens with my wife, Ying.

What inspired you to do music?

After attending two Vietnamese adoptee reunions in 2000, (Baltimore and Estes Park, Colorado) I realized I had new questions and emotions building inside.  Even some older questions came into the light.  With a few years of self-taught guitar lessons, I turned my heavy metal cover songs into chord progressions. I mixed in some James Taylor and Indigo Girls records and I was on my way.  After hours of brainstorming and drawings, I wrote a few songs and shared them with my family and friends.  After numerous requests for a recording, I realized that an audience existed and began making my first record, Waking Up American. My first songs were dedications to my birth family and my blurry childhood.  At one time I thought that if my song made it on the radio, I might find my birth family them someday.

I quickly found success within the adoption community, performing at culture/heritage camps for Asian adoptees.  I was invited to adoption conferences to meet on panels about my experiences. During the anniversary of Operation Babylift, I had the honor to perform for the volunteers and travel to Vietnam to play at the palace in HCMC.  After moving to New York in 2004, I found a special community in Chinatown and became a regular at a small open mic that attracted new artists.

What has been some of the biggest challenges you have faced?  How did you overcome these obstacles?

One of my biggest challenges has been balancing my day job with my beloved life work. I wish I had more time to follow new ideas and interests. Finding time to promote my work and pay for music studio time was challenging. I’m grateful for everything I have created and the opportunities I’ve been given thus far. One of my highlights was meeting Tammy Nguyen Lee and joining her husband, George, on the Operation Babylift film that was instantly close to my heart.  My employers had been generous enough to allow me to travel for benefit shows and camps.  Sometimes, I had to let opportunities go to try new things. In the beginning, I was known for my life story and less for my music.  My new record welcomed studio artists into my recordings and greater attention to the music in the song. With my original writing style and talented friends, I could only get better. Dreams of fame pushed me along the way in the beginning.  I remember having hopes of being famous.  After seven years of playing around the country part-time, I’m so grateful for not being so famous.  I truly discovered the gift I offer and the enjoyment of singing for my special community and all who are curious about my journey.

What is the most important advice/message you would like to give?

My message would be about being yourself 100% and letting your heart and brain speak in harmony.  In all areas of life, I believe confidence comes from knowing how you feel and what you know.  I feel that being raised with an open mind and outlets for creativity helped me express my emotions and gave me an opening for my passion to learn new things and appreciate how big this universe really is.  I saw a divided world growing up.  I was confused at all the anger and violence over beliefs and how unique we all look.  My eyes saw a division in race, religion and economic status.  I sometimes felt I was watching the world from the sideline.  I didn’t feel white or Asian.  I didn’t feel Christian, Jewish and etc.  My world was like a movie.  I was the main character walking through life waiting for the next opportunity, wondering where I would end up around the corner.  My lack of pride for race, religion or economic status has been a blessing.  I’m somewhere in the middle.

When are you planning on releasing your new CD?

My new CD, tentatively titled Somewhere in the Middle, will be released in August 2009. This album is a scrapbook of my journey over the past seven years. I’ve worked really hard on this record and have so many wonderful memories working with my friends and family to make this project special. I have songs about adoption, a wedding song I wrote for my cousin and a dedication to a good friend who left me too soon in life. I recently sang a song for my parents at my wedding reception, thanking them for all their support throughout the years. All of the tracks represent the world through my eyes. I hope my audience will see how unique I am and just how much we have in common.

Check out Jared at our upcoming Dallas premiere of Operation Babylift: The Lost Children of Vietnam on Friday, September 25th with filmAsia Festival at the Magnolia Theatre. He will also be a special guest performer at our Cocktails for a Cause charity event, taking place immediately after the screening at the Dallas Center for Architecture.  Tickets to Cocktails for a Cause will be available on our website beginning August 1st.