A Village Called Versailles - Comes to Philadelphia

Friday, August 9, 2013


Documentary Inspires Philly’s Forgotten to Unite, Take Action

By Tinsel & Tine Contributor Christopher “Flood the Drummer”® Norris

A few sniffled; many cried; but ALL of the more than 40 concerned citizens inside the small but inviting South Philly Vietnamese temple were glued to the screen as they watched A Village Called Versailles  a film by S. Leo Chiang that tells the story of one Viet community’s political awakening in the aftermath of the costliest storm in U.S history.

The films focuses on a tight-knit group of Vietnamese Americans in a New Orleans neighborhood called Versailles, who overcame obstacles to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, only to have their homes threatened by a new government-imposed toxic landfill. Turning a devastating disaster into a catalyst for change, the historic uprising of the invisible people became front page news as for the first time ever the energetic and social conscious Millennials in the community led the politically apathetic elders in a fight against the city of New Orleans.

Photo Credit: Chris Norris

Similar to the Viet people in the film, the Vietnamese Americans here in Philadelphia are for the most part invisible, due to the language barrier, which social activist Minh Nguyen refers to as “one of our communities biggest problems.” Nguyen calls the current conditions of the Viet people in Philadelphia a “huge civil rights violation.”  While massive protests were underway in the black community against the laws that many called “voter
Photo Credit: Chris Norris
disenfranchisement,” the cries of Viet people in the city fell on deaf ears; mainly because the cries weren’t in English. Our community’s biggest problem is Language access. 51-55% of Vietnamese Americans in Philadelphia are English non-proficient. When voting time rolled around last year the city only deployed four (4) interrupters and those staffers weren’t sent to the locations that serve the largest Viet communities. Polling location didn’t have a hotline, nor a translation card or a translator.”

“I think that this particular story struck a chord for me because post-Katrina most of the images you saw on mainstream television were really this, you know, sort of black versus white conflict, which was emphasized over and over again. And I think that there are upwards of 30, 40,000 Asian-Americans along the Gulf Coast, whose stories were not told” continues Nguyen. “The Vietnam community in Philadelphia is not reacting to a hurricane; we are however reacting to like conditions and similar and invisible forces that are working against us. It is my hope that the film will help us move towards action and political engagement in Philadelphia”. 

Minh Nguyen co-facilitated the six-week Journey Home program, which is aimed to bring about a cohort of Vietnamese-identified youth who are conscious of the history, conditions, and struggles of the Viet community in Philadelphia. The self-discovery initiative was made possible through the generous financial support of the Philadelphia Youth Network's WorkReady Summer Program.

 PBS Re-Broadcast on Aug 25th
A VILLAGE CALLED VERSAILLES is returning to PBS this August for an encore presentation as a part of the Global Voices series on the World Channel, marking the 8th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
WHEN:    Sunday, August 25th, 2013
WHERE:  On PBS World Channel, 10:30pm (check your local listings)

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® 
& I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™

About Techbook Online Corporation®:
Techbook Online Corporation (TBO Inc) is an integrated internet, multi-media publishing and sustainable marketing organization. Headquartered in Philadelphia, TBO Inc is one of the largest and most active publishers on Comcast’s For more information
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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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