The homeland is here in the neighbourhood. The neighbourhood travels to the homeland.
Spencer Nakasako | USA | 2003 | Video | 63:00 | Colour | Canadian Premiere
Mike Siv is a young Cambodian refugee who has grown up in the tough Tenderloin district of San Francisco. He decides to go back to Cambodia to “see sights, visit family, have fun.” Mike takes along Paul Meas, 18, and David Mark, two Cambodian friends from the neighbourhood. Together, the three young men from the T.L. embark on a journey to Cambodia that changes forever the way they think about themselves and their world. Refugee is kinetic, moving, and completely fascinating to watch. Director Nakasako shares with us his remarkable insight and skill as a storyteller.
Born in Monterey, California, Spencer Nakasako is one of the best-known Asian American documentary filmmakers. His film A.K.A. Don Bonus won an Emmy award in 1996 and screened at the Berlin International Film Festival. Nakasako wrote and co-directed with Wayne Wang the feature film, Life is Cheap but Toilet Paper is Expensive. His films have been broadcast on PBS and won numerous awards. For the past 15 years, Nakasako has been working in the Southeast Asian communities of San Francisco and Oakland, training at-risk refugee youth to make films about their own lives. He also teaches at the University of California at Berkeley.
Who I Became
Michael Siv, Aram Collier | USA | 2003 | Video | 19:00 | Colour | Canadian Premiere
Who I Became is a snapshot of the life of Ponnloeu Chia – a 21-year-old Cambodian refugee on federal probation. Filmmakers Aram Collier and Mike Siv (one of the young men in Refugee) know Chia and his world well. The result is an intimate, emotionally honest picture of his life as he struggles to stay out of jail, hold his young family together, and deal with emotional fallout from his own absent parents.
Michael Siv was born in Cambodia and raised in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. Siv participated in a workshop at the Vietnamese Youth Development Center with Spencer Nakasako. He recently graduated with a B.A. in liberal studies at San Francisco State University. Who I Became is his first documentary.
Aram Collier first worked with Spencer Nakasako in a youth video workshop in the Tenderloin in 1996. He holds a B.A. in film and digital media from the University of California at Santa Cruz.