Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Journey From The Fall Q&A w/ Ham Tran

Viet Thanh Nguyen is a fellow panelist in a Q&A with Ham Tran about his feature film Journey From The Fall

Q&A with Director Ham Tran & Pulitzer Prize Winner Viet Thanh Nguyen
Discussion on the Vietnamese immigrant experience and his career directing overseas.

Ham Tran (Writer/Director/Editor)
Tran received his MFA in Directing from the UCLA School of Film and Television. His first two short films The Prescription and Pomegranate were finalists for the Student Academy Awards® in 2000 and 2001. Tran’s thesis film The Anniversary was Short-listed for the 2004 Academy Awards® for Best Live Action Short. In 2006 Tran premiered his first feature, Journey from the Fall, at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. This film went on to receive 16 international festival awards for Best Feature Film and was the first Vietnamese film released by Netflix. On October 4, 2019, Journey was listed by the LA Times as one of the Best 20 Asian American films in the last 20 years. On May 11, 2020, Tran was interviewed, along with Pulitzer Prize-Winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen, as part notable figures in the Vietnamese American community in the celebrated PBS documentary series, Asian Americans.

Tran came back to Vietnam in 2012 to direct a romantic comedy called How to Fight in Six-Inch Heels. The film won Tran a Golden Kite Awards in 2013, and its success resulted in Tran being hired to do his third feature in 2014, a horror film called Hollow. This was the first serious horror film in Vietnam to make more than $2million in the box office. In 2015, Tran continues to pioneer new genres with a heist film called Bitcoin Heist, which was bought by Well Go USA and distributed by Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes. In 2016, Tran made another successful comedy called She’s the Boss.

In 2017 Tran and his Vietnamese film colleagues formed a Vietnam-based International Film company called EAST. In 2019, Ròm, a film that EAST co-produced, directed by Tran Thanh Huy, premiered at the Busan International Film Festival and won the New Currents Award. In January of 2020, Be Water, a biographical documentary about the life of legendary martial artist, Bruce Lee, and EAST’s second co-produced film, directed by Bao Nguyen, premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. Also in 2020, Tran was selected by Sony Television for their Diverse Directors Program.

In addition to feature films, Tran has also made commercials and branded shorts for international brands such as Samsung, Oppo, Ponds, Ensure, Ovaltine, Laurier, KitKat, and local brands such as VinFast motors, Coffee House, and BHD cinemas.
Tran is currently working on Vietnam’s first Sci-fi Kids film called Maika.

Viet Thanh Nguyen (Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author)
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His other books are The Refugees, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is a University Professor, the Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundations. His most recent publication is Chicken of the Sea, a children’s book written in collaboration with his six-year-old son, Ellison.


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