“My documentary on my grandfather, Hoàng Vĩnh Tiến, is experimental in nature; it is an experiment in how well I can tell a story from “the other side” (the side of the living and the side of an American identity). By looking at my relationship to Ông Tiến’s memory, I find some connection to a hidden, mythical Vietnam. Using my interviews with those who knew him (my mother, my uncle, and extended family members), I created a single narrative from varied accounts that made up the “history of a person” – regardless of whether or not I choose to accept this history as truth.
The stories of Ông Tiến showcased the many roles he played: a dreamer in love with beauty, a disciplinarian who sought perfection, and a genius out of place in his time. Though social and economic conditions have changed since his passing, the conditions of life itself somehow remain as trying and volatile. The foundations of this documentary, its voices interlinked with images of myself, show that our grief (both past and present) and our memories (intact or crumbling) can be shared, re-interpreted and re-imagined.
The screening hopes to give audiences a quiet space to sit and listen in the way they would have done as children listening to stories of fantasy worlds.”