Congratulations to Orange County-based film director Ham Tran. Judges at the AZN Asian Excellence Awards in Los Angeles recently named Tran's Journey from the Fall as the outstanding independent film of 2007.
Tran's epic movie follows a fictional Vietnamese family from the day the Communists invaded Saigon in 1975 through the early 1980s and its relocation to OC's Little Saigon.
I reviewed the movie favorably in 2006. LA Weekly's film critic Scott Foundas applauded much of the film but believed certain scenes involving dialogue between a Communist concentration-camp official and a South Vietnamese prisoner seemed "phony."
Tran relied on detailed interviews with the prisoners for the scenes and was not pleased. He helped organize a massive letter-writing campaign against Foundas. Many Vietnamese Americans believed Foundas had called the postwar Communist atrocities phony. The celebrated film critic said he'd offered a critique of the filmmaking—not the history.
Also among the winners was SoCal's Dustin Nguyen (pictured) as best supporting actor for his role in Little Fish, starring Cate Blanchett and Sam Neill. Nguyen gained fame with Johnny Depp on 21 Jump Street as well as in Pamela Anderson's VIP television series.
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The AZN Asian Excellence Awards honor Asian and Asian-American accomplishments in the arts and entertainment. The ceremony was featured in an hour-long special on E! Entertainment Television while the full awards presentation debuted on AZN Television.