Thiện Nguyễn is a fisherman in New Orleans East, Louisiana. In 1982 he helmed a boat of 84 refugees from Vietnam to Malaysia, where he stayed in a large refugee camp for two years. Having been a seafarer in Vietnam since 1975, he was eventually able to find work at sea when he resettled in New Orleans. He now owns two big boats and has specialized for years in long line fishing: he disappears out into the Gulf for weeks at a time, with the help of one or a few deck-hands, returning with mainly bluefin tuna. We honor not only Mr. Thiện, but the entire community of fishermen who have continued to provide the country with Gulf Coast seafood despite the many environmental and political challenges they have faced, such as the BP oil spill in 2010.
Thank you to TAAF for giving us the opportunity to spend time with the fishermen and capture this very unique and special moment in the Vietnamese American story. Much of our time producing this work was spent in ways that allowed me and my producing partner Khai Nguyen to talk to our elders, hear their stories, understand more about how they got here, what they've been through, and get to know these heroes as they truly are. Coastal Louisiana has been through way too much and it seems to be more and more difficult to find hope for the communities who have, whether for a few decades or for generations, called it home. For me, observing, documenting and savoring the mere fact that Vietnamese fishermen are here and have been part of Coastal Louisiana's tumultuous story over the last three decades ... that's a full story in itself.
Marion Hoàng Ngọc Hill is a Vietnamese-British filmmaker. Raised mostly in the U.K. and in France by a Mother from Saigon and a Father from Shropshire, Marion has found her own home in the American South: in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Marion has directed several short films and music videos, and her first narrative feature film Ma Belle, My Beauty premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and received the NEXT Audience Award. She is passionate about collaborative creative process and cultural nuance. Marion is currently writing and developing her second feature film, which centers three dynamic women of a Vietnamese family in New Orleans.
We are a non-profit organization. Make a tax-deductible donation here.