kieu premiere

yesterday, i went to the san jose premiere of kieu
at the san francisco international asian american film festival with a bunch of my friends and family.

i play the awkward new girl at the brothel/massage parlor who speaks choppy vietnamese/english.

jeremy said seeing my face on the cinema screen was the most surreal experience.
“it’s like.. actor. actor. actor.. veanne?”

for me, it was uncomfortable.
since this was my first movie,
i did not realize that acting for the camera required a whole new set of skills
different from acting on the theatre stage.

i was unaware that every single expression on my face would be magnified that intensely.
my nostrils were like one feet wide on the movie screen!
i know now not to make that face when on camera.
i just looked.. weird.

my aunt said, “oh you were so beautiful, but only when they showed your profile.”
thanks auntie. :)

at the san francisco premiere: christopher, me, kathy, thu ha and debbie.


[photo by]

about kieu:
kieu is a modern film adaptation of truyen kieu,
an epic poem written by the 18th century writer nguyen du.
in the poem, the character kieu was a beautiful, lyrical archetype who sells herself into prostitution
in order to save her father and brother from political imprisonment.
her duties as a caretaker were deemed heroic
and in turn her character was well loved by the vietnamese community.

the modern day kieu, however, is an amalgamation of real life sex workers
living in the san francisco tenderloin district.
despite being ubiquitous in the vietnamese communities throughout the united states,
vietnamese sex workers have a stigma attached to them and are rarely spoken of.
inspired by her outreach program with sex workers,
debbie nguyen (the producer and one of the writers) felt it was her responsibility
to give these sex workers voices and identities beyond their stereotypes.

the movie was not produced to entertain,
but rather to trigger discourse in the vietnamese community
and for them to ultimately reshape their opinions about vietnamese sex workers.


kieu will also be premiering at the chicago asian american film festival on april 2nd,
and at the los angeles asian pacific film festival in early may.


is premiering at the san francisco international asian american film festival.
i was watching the trailer and noticed my little blurred head peeping in from the background.


(cinematography by carla roley)

check out the trailer here.

kieu weekend film shoot.

three hours for hair and make-up.
three hours to set up and shoot each three minute scene.
thirteen hour day.
three hours of sleep.

7am hair and make-up call.
do it all over again.

i haven’t felt this exhausted in a very long time.
i also haven’t felt this good in a very long time.

that clicker dingus. kathy and olive. monitor. ly and carla (behind the camera)


currently listening to:
my friends all drive porsches, i must make amends.

mercedes benz

oh hell yes!

i was just offered the role of jessica.

the film [kieu] looks like it’ll be quite an interesting collaboration
among several talented, intelligent women.
i’m ecstatic!!!

currently listening to:
i absolutely, absolutely love finding original versions of well-loved songs,


mi sey fe lef' ya with ya bomb

saturday evening,
right as i reached the station, the train left. i am not kidding!
i stood there on the platform, thinking,
“damnit, if only i hadn’t brushed my teeth..” or “if only we had run that yellow light..”

joey: “if only you hadn’t wiped your ass.”

three hours until the next train so i caught up on homework and stuff.


andreas picked me up around 11pm
and we headed to the bubble lounge with the bomb burrito crew.
another typical saturday in sf.

sunday afternoon was spent on a park bench at the stanford campus,


reciting a monologue my mother had translated into vietnamese for me
[i had an audition that evening for kieu,
a modern film adaptation of a classic vietnamese novel]


made an attempt at the story of kieu,
this novel my mom gave me, written completely in vietnamese..
eventually gave up after the third page. reread irvine welsh’s filth.

joey and danny in the rain.