Viet Thanh Nguyen hosts a panel and coversation about the state Vietnamese representation both on screen and behind the scenes for Accented by DVAN.

The Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) presents ACCENTED, a virtual series of programs that will feature a variety of writers, poets, artists, actors, filmmakers, scholars, and other cultural producers from the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora.

Hosted by Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Sympathizer, with co-host appearances by the She Who Has No Master(s) Collective, guests will engage in virtual conversations and discussions regarding their work, their stories, and their communities, with live Q&A sessions following each event.

In this installation of ACCENTED, we will feature a distinguished panel of diasporic Vietnamese filmmakers, actors, and producers in conversation on the state and future of Vietnamese representations on screen and behind the scenes in cinema and on television. Guests will be discussing their career trajectories in the film and/or television industries in both/either Viet Nam and the United States, their involvement in shaping the Vietnamese and Vietnamese American cinematic landscape, and their future projects.

About the Guests:

Bao Nguyen is an award-winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles and Saigon. His work has appeared in the New York Times, HBO, Vice, NBC, ARTE, among others. He was the producer and cinematographer of NUOC2030 a feature sci-fi that opened the Panorama section of the 2014 Berlinale and was awarded the Tribeca Sloan Filmmaker Award. In 2015, he directed the documentary feature, LIVE FROM NEW YORK! which opened the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. He produced Tran Thanh Huy’s ROM which world premiered at the Busan International Film Festival where it won the festival’s top prize, the New Currents award. It will be released in Vietnamese theaters this month.

Bao Nguyen’s latest directorial effort BE WATER, a documentary on the life and legacy of Bruce Lee, world premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, the most prominent film festival in the United States, and was invited to other major festivals such as SXSW, San Francisco, Miami, Seattle, Hot Docs, Sydney, Hong Kong, among many others. BE WATER broke ratings records with its world broadcast premiere in the United States as part of Disney owned ESPN’s ’30 for 30′ series. BE WATER has received widespread critical acclaim, earning a 92% rating among film critics from the US film site Rotten Tomatoes.

In addition to directing BE WATER, Nguyen has also formed a new production company, EAST Films, with offices in Los Angeles California and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Nguyen, alongside other creative partners Ham Tran, Jenni Trang Le, Anderson Le, among others. They formed EAST to nurture and produce transnational stories with a focus on Southeast Asia. It is a creative studio with three silos — genre films for the local Vietnamese market, Pan-Asian streaming series based in Southeast Asia, and prestige fare to support the burgeoning cinema culture of Vietnam and bring it to international audiences. He is an alumnus of the 2012 and 2014 Berlinale Talent Campus as well as a Firelight Media Producers Fellow. He earned his BA at NYU and his MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Jenni Trang Le born & raised in Houston, Texas and in 1994 moved to California where her cousins “Vietnamized” her and there was no turning back from there. She has always had a flair for the dramatics and in 1999, she joined Club O’ Noodles, a Vietnamese American theatre troupe and started writing and performing spoken word. It was through Club O’ Noodles that she started getting more involved in the Vietnamese arts community which would eventually lead to meeting her fellow panel members today. Jenni fell into filmmaking via helping friends with their various projects and in 2005, she was invited to Vietnam to be the 1st Assistant Director of “The Rebel”, a period action film set in French-occupied Vietnam in 1922, where peasant rebellions against the French colonialists have erupted throughout the country. This film was directed by Charlie Nguyen and started off Jenni’s love affair with Vietnam. In 2009 she moved to Vietnam, intending to stay for a year and check out the film scene. She blinked and now it has been 11 years. Since then she has produced mostly feature films along with short documentaries, commercials, and music videos.

Kieu Chinh is a legendary Vietnamese-American actress with nearly six decades of international contributions to the motion picture industry from: Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, China, India, Australia, and Canada. Following the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, Kieu-Chinh became a refugee. She came to the U.S. under the generosity and sponsorship of actress, Tippi Hedren, whom helped Chinh get back to work in Hollywood.

Chinh’s appearances exceed more than 100 film and television shows such as: M*A*S*H, China Beach, Dynasty, ER, NCIS: Los Angeles, A Yank In Vietnam, Operation C.I.A., The Joy Luck Club, Face, Journey From The Fall, which garnered her critical acclaim, numerous accolades, and awards throughout her career including: The Best Actress Award of South Vietnam (1969), Best Leading Actress from the Asian Film Festival in Taipei (1973), Cinema Delle Donne Film Festival in Italy (2003), Lifetime Achievement Awards from Vietnamese International Film Festival-VIFF (2003), San Diego Film Festival (2006), and San Francisco Global Movie Festival – Festival of Globe (2015).

Kieu-Chinh is president, co-founder, and co-chair of the Vietnam Children’s Fund (VCF) a non-profit organization along with the late Lewis Puller Jr., and journalist, Terry Anderson. Since its inception in 1993, VCF has built 50 schools in Vietnam providing safe and high quality education for more than 25,000 students annually.

Viet Nguyen has directed a bunch of tv shows including: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, The Flash, Lucifer, and iZombie. He also directed and co-wrote the award-winning, horror-comedy feature, Crush the Skull, which has been seen by at least 12 people on Amazon Prime.

Next up, Viet will be directing new shows, Panic, for Amazon, as well as, Big Shot, for Disney Plus.

Viet is an Austin native who graduated from film school at the University of Texas. He’s known for his Southern charm and firm handshake, but his real talent, according to his wife, is he’s super handsome. (Viet’s wife did not approve of this bio.)

Lastly, Viet is constantly mistaken for the Pulitzer-prize winning author, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and has autographed several books on his behalf.

About the Host:

Viet Thanh Nguyen is the author of The Sympathizer, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, The Refugees, and Race and Resistance: Literature, Politics and Asian America. His most recent book was Chicken of the Sea, done with his son Ellison. His next book is The Committed, the sequel to The Sympathizer.

DVAN is partnering with Eastwind Books of Berkeley for all book sales and shipping, and books from featured authors will be available on for a discounted price.

All funds raised for ACCENTED will go towards supporting DVAN’s mission to promote voices and stories of the Vietnamese and Southeast Asian diaspora and connect them to diasporic communities all over the globe.

This program is sponsored by the DVAN@SFSU Project of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.

For more information about the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network (DVAN) please visit our website at or follow us on Instagram @weare_dvan

Category: Events


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