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A Village Called Versailles

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A VILLAGE CALLED VERSAILLES is an Emmy(R)-nominated documentary about Versailles, an isolated community in eastern New Orleans that has been settled by Vietnamese "boat people" since the late 1970s. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Vietnamese American residents in Versailles impressively rise to the challenges by returning and rebuilding before any other flooded neighborhood in New Orleans, only to have their homes threatened by a new government-imposed toxic landfill just two miles away. A VILLAGE CALLED VERSAILLES recounts the empowering story of how this group of people, who has already suffered so much in their lifetime, turns a devastating disaster into a catalyst for change and a chance for a better future.

Recommended by educators as an excellent teaching tool for courses in:

Asian American Studies
Ethnic Studies
American Studies
Urban Studies
Urban Planning
Environmental Justice

This powerful documentary will have its national television broadcast on PBS in 2010 as a part of the Independent Lens series.


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quote_open.gifAn absolutely remarkable documentary on the Vietnamese American community that will elicit thoughtful discussion in Asian American Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Urban Studies classes. It presents with great sensitivity the tragedies of displacement, yet focuses on the remarkable power of dignified resistance and coalition-building across generational, gender, class, linguistic, and racial boundaries.
–Linda Trinh Vo, Chair, Department of Asian American Studies, University of California, Irvine

quote_open.gifTells a poignant and touching story of a community's rejuvenation in the face of devastation and government corruption. The film focuses on a group of passionate residents working to establish their community.
–Elliot Mandel, Booklist
full review

quote_open.gifThree and a half stars! Offers an important sociological examination of how Vietnamese immigrants have assimilated into the U.S. mainstream. Highly recommended.
–P. Hall, Video Librarian
full review

quote_open.gifA VILLAGE CALLED VERSAILLES is an excellent documentary film for classrooms at K-12 and universities, especially in Asian American studies and ethnic studies in general, community studies, geography, sociology, urban studies, and urban planning, as well as for general public education.
–Dr. Wei Li, Associate Professor, Asian Pacific American Studies Program and School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning, Arizona State University

quote_open.gifChiang’s deep understanding and experience with ethnographic complexity ensures that his primary informants – members of Versailles – are given priority over any participant-observation.
–Mariam B. Lam, University of California, Riverside, Visual Anthropology
full review


More Reviews

  • National Emmy(R) Awards Nomination
  • PBS national broadcast, INDEPENDENT LENS 2010
  • LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, AUDIENCE AWARD & CALL TO ACTION AWARD

  • San Francisco Int'l Asian Am Film Festival, AUDIENCE AWARD

  • Council on Foundations Film & Video Fest, HENRY HAMPTON AWARD

  • Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Crossroads Film Festival, BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • New Orleans Film Festival, AUDIENCE AWARD

  • American Sociological Association film screening

  • Association for Asian American Studies screening

  • AAA/SVA Film, Video, & Multimedia Festival

  • Association of American Geographers annual meeting

  • New England American Studies Association meeting

  • National CAPACD annual meeting

  • ViFF: Vietnamese Int'l Film Festival

  • Hawaii Int'l Film Festival

  • San Diego Asian Film Festival

  • DC APA Film Festival

  • Austin Asian American Film Festival

Leo Chiang S. Leo Chiang is a Taiwan-born, San Francisco-based filmmaker. His recent documentary, the Emmy® Award-nominated A VILLAGE CALLED VERSAILLES about the rebuilding and transformation of the Vietnamese American community in post-Katrina New Orleans, picked up eight film festival awards, aired on the PBS Independent Lens series, and has been acquired by more than 200 academic and public libraries. Leo’s latest project, the Center for Asian American Media-commissioned MR. CAO GOES TO WASHINGTON, will premiere at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival and Full Frame in Spring of 2012. Leo’s previous films include: TO YOU SWEETHEART, ALOHA (PBS broadcast 2006), on the 94-year-old 'ukulele master Bill Tapia; and ONE + ONE, a documentary about mixed HIV-status couples (CINE Golden Eagle Award ’02, Cable Positive Award ‘01). Leo teaches in the Social Documentation Program in the Film & Digital Media Department at University of California at Santa Cruz.

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