Retelling the story of the War in Vietnam in a way that shows
the historical is personal.
An American refugee story.
A 70-year-old Vietnamese American refugee living in Oregon writes down her life story, indelibly shaped by the War in Vietnam. As she shares what she has written with her filmmaker son, they begin separate but parallel journeys confronting the traumas of their past and the emotional divide in their present.
Winner of the Audience Choice Award at 2023 DocPitch
Winner of the Jury Award at 2022 Ready, Set, Pitch!
Recipient of the 2022 Sundance Institute Documentary Film Fund
Selected for 2023 Rough Cut Retreat, a project of Catapult Film Fund and True/False Film Fest
What people are saying about the film:
“Kevin’s deeply personal, yet fiercely determined to encapsulate many histories within carefully constructed frames allow us to peer into complexity of relationships as well as the forces that shape our interaction with society.” – Jon-Sesrie Goff, Program Officer, Creativity and Free Expression, Ford Foundation, juror Ready, Set, Pitch!
“Mai American unearths intertwined strands of trauma, love, and loss with humor and an undeniable tenderness. The project moves between the micro-environment of the home and the history of the American War in Vietnam with an ease that makes the project extremely engaging.” – Keisha Knight, Director of Funds, ID, juror Ready, Set, Pitch!
“Kevin’s point of view as a director is vulnerable, unapologetically queer, and texturally rich. So many people will be able to relate to the tough journey of reconnection and understanding what makes our parents the way they are.” –Amber Espinosa-Jones, Senior Manager of Artist & Audience Impact, Sundance Institute, juror Ready, Set, Pitch!
“Mai American was beautifully presented with humor, tenderness, and a visual treatment that spoke to Kevin’s voice as a filmmaker. It spoke to the ten years Kevin has been carefully considering how to tell an intimate and visceral story.” – Jannette Napoli, Manager of Content and Initiatives, ITVS, juror Ready, Set, Pitch!